With England’s Rugby League World Cup now just weeks away, the Rugby Football League (RFL) have today announced a Three Lions Week to encourage more people to get involved in Rugby League.
Running between 25th September – 2nd October, clubs across the country will throw open their doors as part of Three Lions Week and encourage people of all ages and abilities to “give Rugby League a go” through activities, tournaments, and open days, organised by their community Foundations.
Forming part of the InspiredBy campaign linking the RFL and RLWC2021, and aimed at driving participation in the sport before, during, and after the World Cup, Three Lions Week gives people the opportunity to learn from the best – with professional club players heading down to community clubs to meet junior players and join in with sessions.
With activities for all ages to enjoy, it kick-starts an historic few months for the sport – the World Cup is set to be the most inclusive tournament in RL history with Men’s, Women’s, and Wheelchair competitions being staged on the same platform.
Throughout Three Lions week, Leeds Rhinos Foundation will be running sessions for aspiring players across all forms of the game, ranging from club open days to taster sessions, giving people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to get involved with the sport and access their local clubs.
Explaining the importance of Three Lions Week, Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Rugby League Development Manager, Darren Higgins, said: “Here at the Foundation we pride ourselves on running a wide variety of rugby league activity that caters for people of all ages and abilities and drives participation across our city.
“The sessions we run during Three Lions Week will hopefully inspire more people to come try Rugby League for the first time and showcase the benefits that this sport can bring to different communities who we serve.
“Rugby League is definitely a sport for everyone, and Three Lions Week is a great way for us to work in collaboration with our Ambassador clubs to encourage people to come give it a go on the eve of the most inclusive World Cup ever, as well as building support for the three England teams playing on home soil.”
Sean O’Loughlin OBE, who played 36 times for England and Great Britain and was captain at the last World Cup in 2017, said: “Rugby League is a sport for everyone and Three Lions Week provides a fantastic opportunity to build excitement and support before the World Cup.
“My old community club Wigan St Patricks will be playing their part and there are loads of others where youngsters first discover the sport, and which are so important in their communities.
“It’s already been a great year for sport in England with the Lionesses victory in the Euros and the success of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. It’s now Rugby League’s time to shine – and I want everyone to make the most of it.”
RFL Head of Growth, Thomas Brindle, commented: “The Rugby League World Cup this autumn offers Rugby League a once in a generation opportunity, and with the InspiredBy campaign including Three Lions Week we are determined to seize the moment.
“We’ve been working for five years since the last World Cup to build Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League, Physical Disability and Learning Disability Rugby League, and the Wheelchair game – all to give us the platform to attract more players and fans.
“To have legends like Sean O’Loughlin going back to their community clubs in Three Lions Week will be inspirational as we urge Rugby League fans and sports lovers to get behind our England teams this autumn, to enjoy the Rugby League World Cup, and to give Rugby League a try.”
InspiredBy is the sport’s largest ever player recruitment drive and is an example of RFL’s ongoing commitment to growing the sport and supporting clubs and their Foundations across the country.
Three Lions Week will start the day after the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, as attention turns to the Rugby League World Cup which kicks off when England’s Men play Samoa in Newcastle on October 15th – with the Women launching their campaign against Brazil at Headingley on November 1st, and England Wheelchair taking Australia in a heavyweight opening fixture at London’s Copper Box Arena on November 3rd.
To find out more about Three Lions Week activity and the InspiredBy campaign, please visit: www.rugby-league.com/inspiredby.