The Rugby League World Cup has landed in Leeds! The men’s competition is well underway, with Sport and Physical Activity having the pleasure of hosting teams such as Tonga and Figi who are using our facilities as part of their training, including The Edge’s brand-new fitness suite. It is exciting to see the tournament going ahead after being delayed last year. You can feel the buzz right across the city.
The women’s tournament kicks off on 1 November and will continue until 19 November 2022. The University of Leeds Head of Rugby, Pete Seabourne, has been part of the England coaching team. He has been working with the women’s squad for the past six months. Working under the leadership of Head Coach, Craig Richards, Pete’s role in the coaching team has been Kicking Coach, focusing on goal kickers and field kickers.
Rugby League in Leeds
Rugby League has a long history here at Leeds. Student Rugby League was born at the University of Leeds over 50 years ago, where the first men’s side was established in 1967. Rugby Union dominated British campuses up to that point, until a group of University of Leeds students persuaded the authorities to approve Rugby League as an official sport. The first student Rugby League game was played between the University of Leeds and the University of Liverpool men’s teams. Many other universities followed suit and there are now over 70 men’s teams competing across the country.
Sticking with tradition, the University of Leeds has paved the way for Women’s Rugby League. The University were second in the country to have a women’s team. The first ever Women’s University Rugby League fixture took place on home turf up at Bodington Playing Fields against Liverpool in 2019.
Jodie Cunningham, part of the current England squad, studied at Leeds. During her time here she represented England in the 2013 Women’s Rugby League World Cup. She is playing for England once again, and it will be an honour to have her back in the city.
We are proud to be part of the tournament and will continue to support student participation in rugby league here at the University, as well as supporting elite sport in the city of Leeds. If you are interested in playing, get in touch with our men’s and women’s clubs.