The Canada Ravens, the Canadian women’s national rugby league team will participate in their second Rugby League World Cup. They have been drawn in Group A. The men’s, women’s, and wheelchair World Cup’s were drawn by Prince Harry as the draw took place at Buckingham Palace in Windsor, England.
The Canadians were drawn with Brazil, Papua New Guinea, and England. The Brazilians are new entrants in the rugby league’s premier competition. They look to challenge Canada for rugby league supremacy in the Americas’. Papua New Guinea and England will be much tougher tests.
England has one of only two pro women’s leagues in rugby league along with Australia. Furthermore, the national sport of Papua New Guinea is the sport of rugby league. Canada lost in the semi-finals in their last Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2017.
Canada Ravens at 2021 Rugby League World Cup
England are the host nation, and are considered favourites to win the group. A traditional and popular game in the north of England, they will be looking to improve their semi-final finish in 2017.
However, they have lost to teams outside of Australia and New Zealand. This includes a 16-22 loss to the Cook Islands in the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup. Canada and Papua New Guinea will use that as motivation to possibly overtake England in the group.
Papua New Guinea – Lost to the Ravens in 2017
Rugby League in Papua New Guinea will be looking at making a mark in this World Cup. The last time Papua New Guinea were in the World Cup they lost to Canada in the group stage and because of that were eliminated from qualifying to the knockout rounds. However, Canada coach Mike Castle is not going to underestimate Papua New Guinea according to the Canadian Press.
“We know England and Papua New Guinea [PNG] will present a huge challenge for us,” he said. “Especially with England being the host nation and having a quality domestic competition. PNG beat England in Port Moresby recently too so they’ve come on leaps and bounds since the last (meeting) at the 2017 World Cup.”
Papua New Guinea nicknamed the “PNG Orchids” will be a tough team for Canada to defeat. They recently overtook Canada in the rankings and are currently ranked fourth in the world. The fifth ranked Ravens are likely to face a stern test from Papua New Guinea.
Canada and Brazil are the only two women’s rugby league federations in the Americas’. It is unknown how good Brazil is at women’s rugby league and are the lowest-ranked team in the group at 11th.
Brazil – Canada Ravens’ continental Rival
Only the second team from the Americas to ever participate in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, Brazil will look to make a good impression in the competition. The Canadian coach talks about facing Brazil in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
“We really don’t know what to expect from Brazil being the debutants, but I know they have some great people overseeing their development, so I would expect them to be well up to the challenge too.”
It is fair to say that the Canada Ravens were also unknown when they debuted in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2017. However, they surprised everyone by getting their first international win in their history against Papua New Guinea the same year.
Expect Brazil to try to do the same thing in this World Cup. Especially with continental rivals Canada being in the same group as them. They will want to challenge the Canada Ravens, who right now on paper is by far the best team in the Americas.
What is known about Brazil is their head coach. Former Super League player Matt Gardner will be coaching Team Brazil nicknamed the “Brasileiras.” According to the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation website, he will be joined by assistant head coach Andrew Charles. Charles was the former assistant head coach of the “Jillaroos”, the defending champions, Australia.
These are the three teams that Canada will face in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup next year. The Ravens also avoided the top two ranked teams in rugby league, Australia and New Zealand.
Group B draw
England is the host nation and that is why they were pot one on this rugby league world cup. However, the top two teams in the world are Australia and New Zealand. They are the only teams that won World Cup’s and have made it to the finals every single time.
“Avoiding New Zealand and Australia as the two top nations will certainly help our cause,” he said in an email from his native Australia. “It was probably the best scenario for us if you look at where everyone sits in the world rankings.”
New Zealand defeated England 52-4 in their semi-final match. While Canada lost to Australia 58-6 in the last Women’s Rugby League World Cup. They are the teams to beat.
Lastly, France and the Cook Islands are the other two teams in the group. Unfortunately, for them, it is going to be very hard to make it to the semi-finals and are massive underdogs. France is the only one of the two to make it to the semi-finals, in 2013.
Group A is significantly easier than Group B. However, Canada will not underestimate how good the competition is in 2021. Both England and Papua New Guinea have improved their national teams greatly and will have underdogs Brazil wanting supremacy in the Americas.
Last year Canada finished in the semi-finals, which was a landmark in Canadian Rugby League that many were not expecting. Expect Canada to try to build on that momentum in this Women’s World Cup. A schedule has not been released, but the four stadiums in the World Cup are known. These stadiums will take place in the Northwest and Yorkshire regions of England.
Rugby League World Cup venues
The tournament will take place from the 13th to the 27th of November. According to James Billington of StadiaTurf, there are four stadiums being used in the Rugby League world cup. The first one from the Northwest of England is Anfield.
They are home to the defending UEFA and FIFA Club World Cup Champions Liverpool. They will host England’s first game in the rugby league world cup. The team nicknamed the “Great Britain Lionesses” will also have games in the Yorkshire region. This includes Emerald Headingley Stadium, home of prestigious Super League club Leeds Rhinos.
There will be two matches at Headingley. There will be three games at York Community Stadium, a new sports stadium being created this year. The stadium will host one group game and both semi-final games at the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
Lastly, the Women’s Rugby League World Cup Final will be held in Old Trafford. The stadium is also used to determine the winners of the Super League Grand Final. The Ravens will be ready and represent Canada proud at the Rugby League World Cup next year.
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