Rugby League World Cup draw: England to face Samoa first up as Prince Harry hosts event at Buckingham Palace

Jack Rathborn
Prince Harry hosts the draw for the Rugby League World Cup: EPA

England will face Samoa in the opening match of the Rugby League World Cup with France and Greece also in Group A after the draw at Buckingham Palace. Prince Harry, making his first public appearance since announcing plans to step back from royal family duties, hosted the draw as the face of the mental fitness charter launched by the sport to run throughout the tournament.

Reigning champions Australia are in Group B with Fiji, Scotland and Italy. New Zealand, Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland are in Group C, while rising force Tonga join Papua New Guinea, Wales and Cook Islands in Group D. England's opening match against France will be held at St James’ Park, Newcastle, is on 23 October and kicks off the tournament.

The Duke of Sussex outlined his motivation for taking part in the initiative to boost the mental health of those involved in the sport. “Rugby League isn’t just a sport, it’s a community,” Harry said ahead of the launch. "For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport. So, I am proud to support the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Mental Fitness Charter. This Charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in rugby league by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament and the wider rugby league family, not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same.”

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