Leigh Centurions will play in Super League in 2021 after a selection panel unanimously chose the Lancashire club to replace Toronto Wolfpack in rugby league’s top division next year.Six clubs applied to take Toronto’s place in Super League, with the Centurions beating bids from Bradford, York, London, Toulouse and Featherstone to take the 12th and final place in the competition.
Toronto withdrew from Super League midway through their debut season in the competition earlier this year, citing financial difficulties enhanced by the Covid-19 pandemic as the primary reason for their inability to fulfil their fixtures. The Wolfpack’s future is currently unclear, with the Canadian side not scheduled to compete in any Rugby Football League competition next year.Leigh, who have twice played in Super League before in 2005 and 2017, will now be the club who take their place, with the selection panel led by Lord Jonathan Caine declaring them the standout candidate of the six. “The independent panel was impressed by Centurions’ application which scored highly on all criteria, and it is a credit to everyone at the club that they were able to produce such a comprehensive submission in such a demanding timeframe,” the Super League chairman, Robert Elstone, said. “The club has a number of top-class players with Super League experience, a great stadium and a passionate and committed fan base, all of which will add to the 2021 competition. The final decision points to both the strength of Leigh Centurions’ bid and the alignment throughout the process between Super League and The RFL.“The late and unexpected withdrawal of Toronto Wolfpack presented Super League with many challenges, in a uniquely difficult season. We have dealt with them expediently, comprehensively and objectively and I am pleased we can now look forward to another exciting Super League in 2021.”