WORLD Cup chiefs in Warrington have set their sights on one of the big nations being based in the town for next year's showpiece.

The draw for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup took place in Buckingham Palace on Thursday,

It revealed England will take on Samoa in the opening game of the tournament at St James' Park in Newcastle.

But the rest of the matches will be confirmed later this year.

READ > Draw made for 2021 World Cup

The Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington will host three men's group games.

A team will also be based in Warrington for the duration of the competition.

And tournament organisers in the town say they are hopeful of hosting one of the bigger, Pacific island nations.

Bid chairman Steven Broomhead said: "My personal preference would be Tonga.

"And our aspiration is one of the Pacific Island nations, as much for the cultural benefits for the town."

Warrington has a number of links to Tonga including staging their match with New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup and boasting star forward Ben Murdoch-Masila in the current squad.

Warrington Guardian:

Duane Mann in 1995

Samoa stayed in Warrington the last time England hosted the competition in 2013 with the team staying at The Village Hotel and training at Victoria Park and the Padgate campus of the University of Chester.

The team also visited various schools in Warrington while dance performances, inspired by the Pacific, were staged in the town centre.

Warrington Guardian: