Nadine Dorries, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, made an embarrassing gaffe during a speech about the Rugby League World Cup.
Dorries appeared to confuse rugby league with rugby union as she made the speech at an event in St Helens.
The event had been organised to unveil the findings of a report which claims the Rugby League World Cup had already made £25 million worth of positive change in communities across northern England through its social impact programme.
“I’ve always quite liked the idea of rugby league,” Dorries said. “My long-standing memory is that 2003 drop-goal.
“I’ll let you into a secret, we were drinking Bloody Marys at the time, it was 11 o’clock in the morning. But wow, what a moment that was.”
It is thought Dorries was referring to Jonny Wilkinson’s extra-time kick in the final of the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, which gave England victory over Australia.
Dorries later addressed the situation on Twitter, writing: “Like Jason Robinson I may have switched codes in my speech… Both league & union have a rich heritage in the UK.
“Obviously I’ve followed rugby league much less in my lifetime, but I’m looking forward to watching England (& all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this Autumn.”
AUDIO of gaffe by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries during speech at a Rugby League World Cup social impact event in St Helens earlier.— Dan Roan (@danroan) June 30, 2022
“I’ve always quite liked the idea of rugby league – my long-standing memory is that 2003 drop-goal… Wow, what a moment that was.” Listen 👇 pic.twitter.com/wD1FPJaK1e
The Rugby League World Cup was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is scheduled to get underway on October 15th.
The men and women’s tournaments will run in tandem, with the latter event set to begin on November 1st and finish on November 19th. The men and women’s final will be held as a double-header at Old Trafford.
Group A will be contested by England, Papua New Guinea, Canada and Brazil, while Australia, New Zealand, France and the Cook Islands will battle it out in Group B.