England will play Samoa in the opening match of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup at St James' Park, Newcastle.

The Pacific Islanders were the first nation to be drawn out of the hat by dual-code international Jason Robinson and 2012 Olympic rowing gold medal winner Dame Katherine Grainger and placed in Group A.

The first-ever public draw was hosted by the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace in his first engagement since he and his wife quit as senior royals.

England’s group game at Bolton Wanderers’ University of Bolton Stadium is still to be confirmed with hosts also drawn against France and World Cup debutants Greece.

The Whites’ home will also host a quarter-final later in the tournament.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, the leader of Bolton Council, said: “Rugby league is wonderful sport and we are delighted the borough is hosting two matches in what promises to be the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup.

“I’m sure the people of Bolton and the wider area will welcome England in one of the group stage games and the two nations who qualify for the quarter final game.

"We're delighted that the University of Bolton Stadium will host England versus either France or Greece, in the group stage of the tournament. France has a long and proud history of rugby league and is one of our oldest rivals. The country hosted the first World Cup in 1954 and was beaten by Great Britain in the final.

“Meanwhile Greece has qualified for the competition for the first time with the sport only recently being taken up there. But it shows the progress they have made by beating some more established nations to qualify.

“I’m looking forward to watching the games in Bolton and the tournament overall.”

Holders Australia will play Fiji, Scotland and Italy in Group B while New Zealand were paired with Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland in Group C.

In Group D, fourth seeds Tonga will play Papua New Guinea, Wales and Cook Islands.

England will play newcomers Brazil in the opening match of the women's World Cup and will also take on Papua New Guinea and Canada in the group stage, while Australia were paired with New Zealand, France and the Cook Islands.