ENGLAND will take on Fiji in their World Cup warm up game on Friday, October 15.
Shaun Wane’s men will face the semi-finalists of the last two tournaments at Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena.
And there are plenty of emotional reasons for choosing the unlikely venue of the Greater Manchester town.
Rochdale has the second largest Fijian population in the UK outside of London.
Its relationship with the Pacific nation stretches back more than 50 years after the arrival of four Fijian rugby players in the early 1960s.
The first time it will have hosted an England side in any sport since 1930 also forms part of Rochdale Hornets’ 150th anniversary celebrations.
For Wane, though, this is all about the business of winning the World Cup.
He said: “This fixture will be a vital part of our preparations and I’d like to thank Rochdale Hornets and the Fiji National Rugby League for making this happen.
“The Bati are a very talented side, individually and collectively, and I wish them well at RLWC2021.”
Rochdale Hornets chief executive Steve Kerr added: “We're delighted to announce our flagship event as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations.
“To welcome Fiji back to Rochdale and continue our cultural links with the island nation is an absolute privilege and honour.
“Supporting Shaun Wane and his England team in their preparations ahead of the 2021 World Cup is simply incredible and the icing on the cake.”
Because of current Covid-19 restrictions, only 2,000 tickets will be available for the clash until further notice.
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