The success of Leigh's bid to be a host venue for the Rugby League World Cup in 2021 has been greeted with euphoria.
Political leaders and those in charge of the Leigh Sports Village (LSV), which has been selected to stage three matches, expressed their delight.
They described the decision as a huge economic and cultural boost for the town putting it on the national map during the celebration of the 13-man code.
International rugby league has become a regular fixture at the LSV, with the stadium hosting Tonga's clash with the Cook Islands the last time the World Cup was staged in Britain and England also playing matches there in recent years.
Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux said: "We’re thrilled that Leigh Sports Village has been chosen to host three World Cup matches.
“Not only will this be a fantastic occasions for our residents to be involved with, but the matches will also attract visitors from across the country and the world to our borough and will prove a big boost for our local economy.
“We will make sure the grassroots of the sport benefits from the legacy of the tournament and we will ensure as many people as possible get to be a part of the tournament celebrations in 2021."
Simon Toon, chief executive of the LSV, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for us and we are really proud our stadium has been recognised and chosen for multiple games.
“We can’t wait to host thousands of international visitors and show them what Leigh has to offer.
“Our stadium, facilities and our passion for the game will certainly help to deliver a successful Rugby League World Cup and we’re sure all who come to LSV will have a great experience.”
Leigh MP Jo Platt wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely ecstatic that Leigh Sports Village have been chosen to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
"It’s now up to our great town to help play a role in delivering the greatest Rugby League World Cup. Let’s do our town proud."
The town's former parliamentary representative and now Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham described the LSV's selection as "great news for Leigh".
The other headline news from the venue announcement was that Wigan and the DW Stadium was not on the list of 21 venues across 18 towns and cities.
Coun Molyneux said this was a grave disappointment and a baffling omission but hoped all the borough's rugby league fans would come together to make Leigh's involvement a succcess.
He said: "I am extremely disappointed and I can’t understand why Wigan, the home to one of the most famous teams in the world, was not given any games to host throughout the tournament.
“I’m sure this feeling is shared among fellow Wigan residents, however, we will of course support Leigh’s fantastic achievement proudly and look forward to the games.”
Leigh’s successful bid was submitted in July 2018 in collaboration with the other local authorities within Greater Manchester to highlight all that GM has to offer and to showcase how it can work together for the benefit of the city region.
The bids were considered individually and Bolton and Trafford were also announced as hosts for the games.
More than one million people are expected to attend the games over the five-week tournament, which will be held in October and November 2021.
It is expected to be watched worldwide by an estimated 150 million people across 115 countries, with thousands of overseas supporters heading for the UK in what should be one of the biggest and most diverse events the sport has ever staged.
The tournament will crown the champions in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games.
For more information visit: www.marketingmanchester.com/rugbyleagueworldcup