THERE are plenty of towns in the North West known for their passion and love for rugby league.

The good people of Warrington, St Helens, Wigan and ­— even closer to home ­— Leigh, are mad about this fast-moving, exciting game which for the most part is conducted without the histrionics that have pervaded football.

Bolton has its own rugby league team, The Mets. But in this town, it’s Bolton Wanderers that stirs the passions of the majority of sports fans.

It was fantastic news this week that we have been successful in a bid to host the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

The news on Tuesday came after a concerted campaign led by Bolton Council and supported by partners including the University of Bolton, Bolton Wanderers, Bolton Whites Hotel, and a host of businesses, organisations and sports clubs.

The University of Bolton Stadium will host a significant group stage game, featuring England, and a quarter final match.

Following the news, some have questioned why Wigan ­— just down the road and a traditional rugby league heartland ­— was not successful, whereas Bolton was. But if you think about it, it makes sense.

Rugby league bosses are desperately keen to widen the sport’s appeal. They want to open it up to be seen by people who wouldn’t normally think about watching. And the University of Bolton stadium is not far for any rugby in the North West to travel to.

People in towns and cities like Bolton who have never watched rugby league will hopefully be enticed to do so as excitement grows in the run-up to the tournament.

Youngsters are obviously a key target. Rugby League bosses believe that once they do get to watch this tough, fast, exciting sport, they will love it.

And it certainly has one advantage over many other sports; player discipline in rugby league is something children can aspire to ­— a welcome change from the drama and abuse you often see in football for example.

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 is expected to be the biggest ever.

It will be watched worldwide by an estimated 150 million people across 115 countries, which gives Bolton a wonderful opportunity to showcase our town nationally and globally.

It is great news locally, too, as the tournament has the potential to bring £4.5 million into Bolton’s economy.

The successful bid is a perfect example of various organisations and businesses working as a team to achieve a mutually beneficial aim ­— improving Bolton by making the most of its many attributes. It shows that the Rugby League International Federation has great faith in Bolton.

There are some who would rather hark back to an era that has come and gone and although it is nice to be nostalgic, it will not take the town forward.

The only way is to work together and look constructively at what can be done to make Bolton a better place in which to live and work.

That does not mean blindly believing that everything is perfect, but it does mean being a critical friend ­— identifying what needs to be improved and then trying to find ways to change our town for the better.