FIVE months out from the first ball being kicked and regardless of the eventual outcome, organisers are already hailing the success of the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

That is because they have helped complete the delivery of around £21million in grants to transform grassroots rugby league in communities across the country.

Leigh Miners Rangers, who were on Friday handed £336,000 to install a new training facility, were the final recipients of the RLWC2021 CreatedBy programme which was established in 2018 to ensure the World Cup left a lasting legacy.

It is the last payment from the £10m awarded in 2016 by the Government, which also handed organisers £15m towards running costs.

Organisers still have some of the £15m in the general "pot" and have managed to more than double the other £10m courtesy of matched grants and other sources of income.

Tournament chief executive Jon Dutton said: "We've just got the final element, which is our small grants programme to announce, but we've managed to turn the £10m into something like £21m.

"In the Leigh Miners case, Wigan Council have made a significant investment, some of the clubs have done fund-raising, some gained other grant aid.

"Our objective was to take our pound and make sure it worked really hard to leverage other funding, which has been successful. And every pound has gone into community rugby league.

"We've actually delivered just over 225 grants, from kit and equipment to large-scale projects such as new pitches, clubhouses or floodlighting.

"We talk about social impact, we don't talk about legacy, that will come after, but we will leave our mark.

"There will be bricks and mortar and new facilities long after the World Cup has gone, all because of the decision that was made in 2016 by the Government to invest and for us to win the right to host the tournament."

Officials have taken advantage of the extra 12 months created by the postponement of the tournament last year due to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that, unlike in 2013 when the World Cup was last staged in this country, there will be something tangible to show for it.

Dutton, who was involved in the 2013 tournament, is loathe to make comparisons, insisting the Government backing has enabled organisers to raise the bar.

"In 2013 we were focused on delivering 28 games across four countries with a very small team on a very small budget," he said. "This is the biggest tournament in the sport's 127-year history.

"We've been blessed with time, a year longer than we would have hoped for at the start, but we've certainly used the extra time wisely, to get out into local communities.

"Here in Leigh today, we can see the mental fitness programme, the culture programme, the facilities and volunteering initiatives, it's about having appeal beyond the sport of rugby league, which was always the objective."

Dutton was speaking at the inaugural host impact day in Leigh as he prepares to take his team around all the towns and cities that will be hosting the tournament's 61 fixtures across the men's, women's and wheelchair competitions.

Dutton will spread the word further afield when he flies to Australia in mid-June to take in the mid-season internationals amid a new mood of optimism.

"Last year was dominated by uncertainty and postponement," he said. "Now we have more certainty, we have much more positivity and optimism.

"With just over 150 days to go, it feels like there's some real excitement but we still expect the unexpected.

"You think back to the start of our journey through Brexit, the global pandemic, war in Europe and the postponement, we've had everything thrown at us so we're not complacent.

"We're living our lives in complete freedom but we've still got some work to do, particularly with some of the nations that will arrive here who are still experiencing the pandemic in a different way."