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League World Cup - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 06 Oct 2007 08:51:00 GMT
Half a century after hosting the first Rugby League World Cup in Australia, the Sydney Cricket Ground will kick-off the 2008 tournament when Australia plays New Zealand in the opening fixture.

The Rugby League International Federation Executive’s announcement that the Sydney Football Stadium will host both the opening ceremony on October 26, 2008, and the second semi-final on November 16, locks in all 12 venues for the 18-match tournament.

Canberra, Wollongong, Penrith and Parramatta were the other venues finalised at yesterday’s meeting of the RLIF Executive at the Australian Rugby League offices.

It was in 1957 at the SCG that Australia clinched the second ever World Cup contest with a 26-9 win over France that ensured the home team would go through the tournament undefeated.

While four nations competed in the tournament that year, 10 will head to the Sydney Football Stadium for the 2008 Opening Ceremony.

“As Australia this week prepare for a Test against New Zealand, Ricky Stuart has made it clear he is already looking towards next year’s World Cup,” RLIF Chairman and World Cup Tournament Director, Mr Colin Love AM, said today.

“The northern hemisphere will soon see seven nations - Ireland, Russia, Lebanon, Scotland, Wales, USA and Samoa - battle for the remaining three places in the main World Cup Draw.

“The 2008 Rugby League World Cup is going to be a significant event for Rugby League and for Australia.

“The support we have received from the Australian Federal Government through its generous grant and from the Queensland, Victorian and NSW Governments recognises that significance and ensures that the tournament is built on a solid foundation.

“We will take matches across three states and the ACT; to major cities and to regional centres in a way that will allow all fans to be a part of the World Cup experience.

“The finalisation of all venues today is another reminder of the scale of what is being planned.”

England’s Rugby Football League Executive Chairman, Mr Richard Lewis, today said that overseas interest in the tournament was building quickly:

“It’s been a long wait for nations to have the chance to challenge Australia for the trophy and the players and the fans are keen for the opportunity.

“There has been a lot of interest in UK travel packages already and I am sure that the Australian fans will have some enthusiastic competition in the stands as well as what the players will face on the field.

“The work already undertaken by the World Cup Committee is certainly encouraging and there’s a lot of enthusiasm building around the event.”

Following the NRL Grand Final, Mr Lewis travelled to Townsville to inspect the facilities that will host the clash between England and Papua New Guinea on Saturday, October 25 2008. He was impressed with the local involvement and support of the Rugby League World Cup.

Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart said today that a World Cup on Australian soil was already a major focus for the players.

“We’ve had the Darren Lockyers of the world talk about how much they want to be there and for any young player coming through it would be hard to think of a greater honour than representing your country against all comers in our Centenary year.

“Every time you wear the Australian jumper it is an important event in its own right but players at the moment know also that there is now a chance to stake your claim for the World Cup.

“I think that is going to help breed a new level of intensity in everything we do as a national team between now and the end of the World Cup tournament in ’08.”

The full schedule for the 2008 World Cup is as follows:

1 Sat, 25 Oct 08 Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
England v PNG

2 Sun, 26 Oct 08 Canberra Stadium
Euro A - 2 v France

3 Sun, 26 Oct 08 Sydney Football Stadium
Official Opening Ceremony Australia v NZ

4 Mon, 27 Oct 08 Parramatta Stadium
Tonga v Euro A-1

5 Fri, 31 Oct 08 CUA Stadium, Penrith
Repechage Winner v Tonga

6 Sat, 1 Nov 08 WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Fiji v France

7 Sat, 1 Nov 08 Skilled Stadium, Gold Coast

8 Sun, 2 Nov 08 Telstra Dome, Melbourne
Australia v England

9 Wed, 5 Nov 08 Bluetongue Stadium, Central Coast
Euro A - 2 v Fiji

10 Wed, 5 Nov 08 Parramatta Stadium
Euro A - 1 v Repechage Winner

11 Sat, 8 Nov 08 Browne Park, Rockhampton
Ranking (2-2) v (2-3)

12 Sat, 8 Nov 08 Energy Australia Stadium, Newcastle
England v NZ

13 Sun, 9 Nov 08 CUA Stadium, Penrith
Ranking (3-2) v (3-3)

14 Sun, 9 Nov 08 Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
PNG v Australia

15 Mon, 10 Nov 08 Skilled Stadium, Gold Coast
Pool (1-2) v (1-3)

16 Sat, 15 Nov 08 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Semi Final (1)

17 Sun, 16 Nov 08 Sydney Football Stadium
Semi Final (2)

18 Sat, 22 Nov 08 Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Details on the full ticketing programme will be released within the next fortnight.

More information about the venues and the Rugby League World Cup can be found at www.rlwc08.com - Read More, Here