Rugby League World Cup trophy goes back to the Midland Hotel


11th October 2013


On Sunday October 13 the original Rugby League World Cup trophy will go back on public display at the Midland Hotel in Bradford, from where it was famously stolen, over 40 years ago, on the night of Sunday, November 1 1970.

The Rugby League World Cup was on open display at the hotel as it was the Australian team base for Rugby League World Cup 1970. The Australians were the holders of the trophy having won the previous World Cup in 1968.

After that November night in 1970, the trophy disappeared without trace for 20 years. It was finally found among rubbish dumped in a ditch near the Bradford and Bingley Rugby League Club, in Bingley. The finder was local Bradford man Roger Uttley, who made persistent enquires to re-unite the trophy with its correct owners and was finally able to present officials of the Rugby Football League with the 61-centimetre high, silver-plated trophy on June 1 1990.

Speaking on its return, RFL spokesman David Howes commented: "It is like the return of the Holy Grail. No-one knows what its value is, but in Rugby League terms it is priceless."

RFL Historian Tony Collins commented: “The disappearance for 20 years of the Rugby League World Cup trophy is one of the great sporting mysteries but fortunately it is one with a happy ending and it will be a little slice of sporting history when it re-appears in the lobby at the Midland Hotel in Bradford”

The General Manager of the Midland Hotel, Gary Peacock said: “We look forward to welcoming back the magnificent Rugby League World Cup trophy to the Midland Hotel over 40 years after it checked out unnoticed and I can assure everyone that we will not be taking our eyes off it throughout its stay.”

The trophy will be on display in the lobby at the Midland Hotel, Bradford from 11.00am until 1.00pm on Sunday October 13 and members of the public are welcome to come along and take photographs.

This will be one of its last appearances before Rugby League World Cup 2013 kicks off on October 26 with a spectacular Opening Ceremomny and double header of matches featuring England against Australia, and Wales v Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Tickets are now on sale for RLWC2013, with 55 per cent of tickets priced £20 or less. To purchase tickets please visit or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.