Workington Town boss Leon Pryce hopes yesterday’s announcement that the town will host three matches in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup will be a catalyst for the sport locally.

Pryce, himself a former Great Britain international, believes the news is superb for the area and for his own club.

Over 200 schoolchildren packed into the Carnegie Theatre to hear the news as it was broadcast live from Manchester on the BBC.

And the youngsters were decked out in the colours of Workington Town providing a sea of blue and white in the theatre - a welcome sight for the head coach.

“It is fantastic,” he said. “The biggest thing is to see all these kids here in their blue and white hats and scarves, it is just amazing.

“If we can keep these kids interested and get them down to Workington games as well that would be great.

“It’s a really proud day for everyone involved, it is fantastic for the area.

“But it’s all about the kids. If you have them coming down and enjoying it then you possibly have the next generation of players, supporters, and people who want to help on game day and then we can keep developing the game.”

The town will see some of rugby league’s top players in action after it was confirmed Workington’s proposed new stadium will stage three games in the men’s tournament in 2021.

Tournament organisers have met the Government target of hosting at least 80 per cent of the tournament in the Northern Powerhouse, with Workington being joined by Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, St Helens, Warrington, Leigh and York among the Northern towns and cities making up the final list.

It is not yet known which games will be hosted in Workington with the draw for the RLWC2021 to take place on November 27 this year.

Town’s deputy chairman Malcolm Allison was delighted to be part of the successful bid.

He said: “We’d like to congratulate Allerdale on a compelling bid. We have a great working relationship with the council and they share the Town board’s forward thinking for rugby league in our county.

“We recognise our place in an increasingly global sport and want to play our part in expanding the game. To do that while highlighting our great town in our fantastic county is an exciting prospect.”

Organisers hope the Rugby League World Cup will be the biggest, and most attended and watched event in its history bringing together world-class athletes on rugby league’s biggest stage.