Tottenham's new stadium to host rugby league Ashes clash

Tottenham Stadium - will host Ashes clash
Tottenham Stadium - will host Ashes clash

Tottenham's new stadium has been chosen as a venue for the Ashes Series in 2020.

Bolton and Leeds are the other venues unveiled by the Rugby Football League for the first Ashes series for 17 years.

The first of three Tests between England and Australia, who will be making their first visit to the UK since 2016, will kick off at the University of Bolton on Saturday, October 31.

Elland Road will host the second Test on Saturday, November 7, and the series will culminate in London at the 62,000-capacity Tottenham stadium on Saturday, November 14.

The stadium, built on the site of the old White Hart Lane ground and opened in April, was designed as a multi-purpose venue with the first dividing, retractable football pitch and has already hosted NFL matches.

London has been a regular venue for big rugby league matches, with Wembley annually hosting the Challenge Cup final, while Arsenal's Emirates Stadium will host a semi-final of the 2021 World Cup.

The RFL has not announced what other games, if any, the Kangaroos will play but coach Mal Meninga has spoken of his desire to take in midweek fixtures in a nod to previous tours.

It will be the 40th Rugby League Ashes series which began in 1908 and will take place 50 years on from England or Great Britain's last Ashes triumph.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: "We are thrilled to be welcoming Australia back to this country for the first time since 2016.

"We hope the venues we have chosen, with a split between Lancashire, Yorkshire and London, will be popular both with regular rugby league supporters and also the broader sporting public.

"The University of Bolton Stadium and Elland Road have both staged successful rugby league events in recent years and it's exciting for us to be taking a first fixture to the stunning Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

"England were just an ankle tap away from taking the 2017 World Cup final against Australia into extra time and last year's success against New Zealand suggests that this will be a series not to be missed."

Kevin Sinfield, the former England captain who is now the RFL's rugby director, said: "The prospect of taking on the touring Kangaroos in 2020 and putting a marker down for 2021 World Cup selection will give every aspiring England international added incentive next season.

"These are exciting times for international Rugby League."

Australia declined to become involved in the current Great Britain tour but Todd Greenberg, chief executive of Australia's National Rugby League, is looking forward to 2020.

He said: "It will be wonderful to see the Kangaroos involved in another Ashes series.

"International Rugby League has been going through an incredible period and an Ashes series will be another highlight.

"The Ashes has such history in our game and to see it return will be very special. It will also build some strong momentum into the 2021 World Cup."

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