Rugby League World Cup trophy comes to Bolton

29 Nov 2018 12:54

The official Rugby League World Cup trophy is to go on display at Bolton Museum.

Fans will have the chance to see the silverware up close at a special exhibition from Monday, December 3 to Saturday, December 8.

The trophy is touring the country to promote the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

Bolton is campaigning to stage matches, team camp and training venue, and has made it to a shortlist of 20 towns and cities which are vying to host the event.

The tournament has the potential to bring £4.5million into Bolton’s economy.

The successful town or city is expected to be announced in January 2019.

The 61cm high, silver-plated trophy has a fascinating history and people can find out more about its past when they visit the museum, in Le Mans Crescent.

It was commissioned by Paul Barriere, a former French resistance fighter, for rugby league’s first ever world cup in 1954. 

However, while on display in the Midland Hotel in Bradford it was stolen – six days before the 1970 final.

Twenty years later it was found in a ditch near a rugby club in Bingley, minus its cockerel headpiece.

For the 2021 tournament the organisers have had the trophy restored to its former glory with a new cockerel in place.

A GPS tracker has also been fitted so that fans can follow the trophy’s progress around the world at

People are encouraged to take pictures of themselves with the trophy and post them on social media to support Bolton’s Back The Bid campaign.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Youth and Sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: “It’s great to have the trophy in Bolton and I would encourage everyone to go and see it and support our bid.

“The museum is the perfect location for the display, following the £3.8m refurbishment.

“We believe our town will make a great host venue and we want people to post their selfies with the cup on social media and tag us using #RLWC2021Bolton.”

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr Linda Thomas, added: “Events are a key part of our regeneration strategy to improve the prosperity of the borough and the Rugby League World Cup 2021 is a unique opportunity.

“The tournament will benefit Bolton’s economy and get our communities involved in sport. It will also highlight the region and Bolton at its best to visitors, players and spectators from around the world.”

Watch Bolton’s Back the Bid video at

Bolton’s bid is a partnership supported by: Bolton Council; Bolton Wanderers; Bolton Whites; University of Bolton; Ideal Corporate Solutions Ltd, and a host of businesses, organisations and sports clubs including Bolton Mets and Westhoughton Lions.

Chief Executive of RLWC 2021, Jon Dutton, said: “As a Rugby League fan this is a very proud moment that we want people to share in and enjoy.

“However, we’re not taking any chances with the Cup and our new cockerel this time. We have incorporated a GPS tracker – a device they obviously didn’t have available to them in the 70s.

“We may never know where the World Cup went during its two missing decades, but we will always know where it is going forward.

“Fans can too, by keeping a close eye on the tracking website - we shall be avoiding ditches at the side of the road!”

The RLWC2021 will see 32 teams playing 64 games across 20 venues and it is expected to be the biggest Rugby League World Cup, watched worldwide by an estimated 150 million people across 115 countries.

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