Rugby League: Old Trafford was named as the location of the the 2013 Rugby League World Cup final today, while the Rugby Football League (RFL) will follow the lead set by the Football Association by using Wembley to host both semi-finals.
The finishing touches to the 14-team tournament scheduled for October and November next year, were unveiled by delegates from the Rugby League International Federation.
Organisers announced in March that Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium will host the opening ceremony and a double-header to launch the event, as well as confirming venues for the group matches and quarter-finals.
The decision to initially withhold information about the tournament’s big games after a delay in finalising contracts proved controversial but yesterday’s announcement is likely to reassure critics.
Co-hosts Wales will get the tournament under way on October 26 against qualifiers Italy followed by England’s group A clash with favourites Australia, while the final will be on Saturday, November 30 at Old Trafford — also the venue for the last final to be held in England in 2000.
“It’s a stunning venue and has hosted some famous Rugby League World Cup games in the past,” said RLWC 2013 general manager Sally Bolton.
“Having two matches back to back will make for a wonderful day of rugby league with the four top teams going hammer and tongs for a place in the Rugby League World Cup final.”
She added: “We know Old Trafford very well too, a venue that always delivers a fantastic Super League Grand Final for us. Holding the final there will allow the rugby league community, the people of the north-west and, we hope, many new fans to witness a fantastic spectacle.”