A Manchester schoolboy has been revealed as being partly behind the inspiration of this year’s Rugby League World Cup mascot

The competition to design the mascot opened in April, with more than 2,000 entries coming in from young fans as excitement continues to build for the biggest, best and most inclusive World Cup in the sport’s 127-year history.

After whittling down the extensive shortlist, two entries simply couldn’t be separated, and both were put forward to be part of the final design for ‘RugBee’, who has today been revealed at Old Trafford, where the men’s and women’s finals will be played in a spectacular double header on Saturday 19 November.

Rugby League World Cup 2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton said:

“We were delighted to receive so many brilliant mascot entries, reflecting the enthusiasm and excitement that is continuing to grow for the tournament and it was incredibly difficult to whittle down the entries to the final two.

“The bee is synonymous with Manchester and to unveil RugBee in the city where we will host all three tournament finals feels like a really wonderful moment for Rugby League World Cup 2021.

“Bees are known for their industrial nature and RugBee will certainly be working hard throughout the tournament attending every single one of our 61 matches.”

The design for RugBee was inspired by entries from 9-year-olds, James Hanley from St Joseph’s Primary Academy in Halifax and Samuel Liptrot from Cavendish Community Primary School in Manchester.

They were informed of their success, alongside their excited classmates, during a school assembly with a video message from St Helens and England player Tommy Makinson, who is expected to be one of England’s key players during their World Cup campaign which kicks off against Samoa at St James’ Park on Saturday 15 October.

James and Samuel will receive two tickets to the men’s and women’s final double header at Old Trafford on Saturday 19 November, while they will also be able to take their classmates to another Rugby League World Cup fixture of their choice.

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