Three England captains to make history as Chief Guests


Three England Rugby League captains will make history at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28 as they have been invited as Chief Guests for the 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup Final.

The RFL have invited Sam Tomkins, Emily Rudge and Tom Halliwell – respective captains of the England Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair teams – to underline the inclusivity and diversity of the Rugby League World Cup later this year.

Tomkins, Rudge and Halliwell will also attend the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph the morning before the Final, on Friday May 27 – the annual opportunity for the sport of Rugby League to pay tribute to its fallen heroes.

All Rugby League lovers in the capital for the weekend – including supporters of the Challenge Cup finalists Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors, and of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup finalists Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions – are invited to attend the ceremony, which begins at 11am.

Simon Johnson, the RFL Chair, said:

“In this World Cup year, we are delighted to welcome our three England captains – Sam Tomkins, Emily Rudge and Tom Halliwell – as Chief Guests at the Betfred Challenge Cup Final, and also to Rugby League’s annual Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.

“It is such a pivotal year for our sport, as we celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of Rugby League with three World Cups running concurrently and building to three Finals in Manchester on the weekend of November 18-19 – Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair.

“The historic 2022 Challenge Cup Final at the superb Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will provide Rugby League supporters with a first chance to celebrate our England captains, as we hope they and many others will this autumn.

“I am delighted that Sam, Emily and Tom will also join us at the Cenotaph the previous morning – which is always such a poignant occasion.

“One of the many reasons I was honoured to be appointed Chair of the RFL was the opportunity to lead this tradition. 

“It encapsulates the magnificent heritage of our game and how Rugby League is woven into the fabric of its communities and the North of England.

‘’I find it incredibly moving that the game of Rugby League can honour its sacrifice in the heart of the nation’s capital.”

In addition to the England captains, the Service of Remembrance will be attended by representatives of the Huddersfield, Wigan, Featherstone and Leigh clubs; by the England Men’s head coach Shaun Wane; and by representatives of the UK Armed Forces Rugby League, the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, and the RLWC2021 Chair Chris Brindley MBE. 

A representative from the Royal British Legion will also lay a wreath.