RUGBY League World Cup 2013 organisers today announced the full schedule of matches for the tournament – which takes place in October and November next year.
And St Helens will be hosting one of the top games – Australia v Fiji – as well as being given the added honour of having Australia as our ‘adopted’ country.
The tournament will kick off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a spectacular first day including the opening ceremony, host nation Wales taking on Italy and co-hosts England playing Australia.
Welsh hosts Wrexham’s Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground have Wales taking on the USA and one of the tournament quarter-finals. While in Neath, home supporters at The Gnoll can see the men in red take on the Cook Islands.
The tournament will be pushing Rugby League further than ever before with Limerick’s Thomond Park in Ireland hosting Australia v Ireland and France playing New Zealand in Avignon and Samoa in Perpignan.
St Helens Council Leader Marie Rimmer said: “Australia v Fiji will be a tremendous occasion and will put St Helens firmly in the world spotlight. Within the borough I see the World Cup becoming a real catalyst that not only helps to boost involvement in rugby league at school and grassroots levels, but provides a focal point for a whole range of community activities too.”
Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus added: “We are delighted to be hosting Australia and Fiji at Langtree Park. We have long been associated with Australia and some of the club’s greatest legends have taken to the field in the Red Vee. I have no doubt we will adopt Australia as our own and the fans will flock down to the magnificent stadium to see the best in the world take on each other.”
Nigel Wood, RLWC2103 Tournament Director said: “This is an exciting day for all our hosts. They now know who will be playing or training in their stadiums and who their communities will be getting behind. We’re saying to them ‘this is your World Cup, this fantastic international event will be putting the world’s best Rugby League players right on your doorstep’. I have no doubt they will help to make this the best Rugby League World Cup so far”.
Flying the flag…Council Leader Marie Rimmer and Saints stars Anthony Laffranchi (left) and Josh Perry celebrate the World Cup announcement.