Lindsay Hoyle says England women can take the lead at Rugby World Cup

Sir Lindsay Hoyle believes England’s best female rugby union players have the chance to top the Lionesses’ achievements with success at the Rugby League World Cup this autumn.

Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, will be chairman of the Rugby Football League in 2023 after accepting a one-year term for succeed host Clare Balding. A lifelong rugby league fan who was chairman of the defunct Chorley Borough in the 1990s, Hoyle has vowed to use his significant platform in London to boost the game’s profile during his tenure.

However, he believes this year’s World Cup is a golden opportunity for England’s women to create a similar defining moment as the Lionesses, who were crowned European champions on Sundayand catapult themselves into the mainstream successfully at home.

“Everyone asks about the Lionesses and wants to know the backstory of the players, which is fantastic, and we can have that with our best rugby league players if the World Cup goes well,” he said. Hoyle said. “We have the opportunity to do better in many ways, they have become European champions but we can become world champions.

“The real impact of women’s football and its growth was demonstrated last weekend, but I think we have a better opportunity. The quality of women’s rugby is absolutely amazing and our players can become world champions.

The women of England celebrate their victory against France in June.
The women of England celebrate their victory against France in June. Photography: Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

“We can take the sport to new heights for men, women and wheelchair players with the three World Cups, but the sport must seize the opportunity with both hands.”

Hoyle says rugby league needs to “sell the game better” if it is to be taken more seriously across the country, but has promised to try to attract new fans outside its traditional core. “The growth of the game matters to me, it really does, and I will do everything I can to contribute to that over the next year,” he said.

“We need to make sure we have a team that can compete with Australia and New Zealand. I want to help build a massive platform for the future of our national sport. We want people to talk about our players as champions, but we need to sell the game better. We need to get more bums in the seats. We need to get more people to watch TV. We have the best games, but no longer keep the best-kept secret. .

Hoyle, who regularly attends games when he is back in his Chorley constituency, said he would continue his battle to get rugby league on the agenda at Westminster whenever possible. “We always have a lot of culture, media and sport Q&A sessions and I always mention rugby league to people,” he said. “I always urge MPs to talk about rugby league because it really is the greatest sport.

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“We have ministers who know rugby league needs to be on the agenda here. But we have a great selling point to get people talking about rugby league here with the World Cup. We need to connect people to the World Cup.

“My belief is that if you watch five rugby union games you will dedicate yourself to it for life, because there is no better sport to watch. We have an incredible opportunity to change the sport.

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