World Cup to kick off in Cardiff
Millennium Stadium to open 2013 rugby league showpiece
Last Updated: March 22, 2012 12:08pm
The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff will host a double-header to launch the 2013 World Cup
It has been announced that Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will host the opening ceremony and a double-header to launch the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Co-hosts Wales will get the 14-team tournament under way on Saturday, October 26, with a cross-group match against qualifiers Italy, followed by England's group A clash with favourites Australia.
Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Government's First Minister, attended a press conference along with tournament chairman Richard Lewis at the Millennium Stadium where organisers unveiled 19 of the venues across England, Wales, Ireland and France for all but three of the 28 matches.
In a late change of plan, the organisers decided not to announce the venues for the closing stages, but Wembley is thought to be favourite to host both semi-finals with the November 30 final set to go to Old Trafford, which was the venue for last final to held in England in 2000.
The full list of dates and kick-offs will be confirmed when the broadcast schedule is finalised.
England's other group games against Ireland and Fiji will be at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium and Hull's KC Stadium respectively, while Wales will play the United States in Wrexham and Cook Islands in Neath.
Scotland's group C games against Tonga and Italy will be played at the planned new stadium at Pow Beck in Whitehaven, while Ireland's attractive fixture with Australia is being taken to the rugby union stronghold of Thomond Park in Limerick.
Holders New Zealand will play group B games in Warrington and Leeds as well as one of two fixtures in France.
If the group fixtures go to form, Australia will meet Wales in the quarter-finals in Wrexham, with England taking on the third-placed team from group B at Wigan's DW Stadium.
Headingley and Warrington's enlarged Halliwell Jones Stadium are the other quarter-final venues.
World Cup groups:
A: England, Australia, Ireland, Fiji (three to qualify)
B: New Zealand, France, Papua New Guinea, Samoa (three to qualify)
C: Scotland, Tonga, Italy (one to qualify)
D: Wales, United States, Cook Islands (one to qualify)
2013 World Cup fixtures and venues:
England v Australia - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Fiji v Ireland - Spotland Stadium, Rochdale
England v Ireland - Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield
Australia v Fiji - Langtree Park, St Helens
England v Fiji - KC Stadium, Hull
Australia v Ireland - Thomond Park, Limerick
France v Papua New Guinea - MS3 Craven Park, Hull
New Zealand v Samoa - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
France v New Zealand - Parc des Sports, Avignon
Samoa v Papua New Guinea - MS3 Craven Park, Hull
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea - Headingley Carnegie, Leeds
France v Samoa - Gilbert Brutus Stadium, Perpignan
Scotland v Tonga - Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Scotland v Italy - Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Tonga v Italy - The Shay, Halifax
Cook Islands v USA - The Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Wales v USA - Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Wales v Cook Islands - The Gnoll, Neath
Wales v Italy - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Tonga v Cook Islands - Leigh Sports Village
Scotland v USA - City of Salford Community Stadium
Winner A v winner D - Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Runner-up A v 3rd place B - DW Stadium, Wigan
Winner B v winner C - Headingley Carnegie, Leeds
Runner-up B v 3rd place A - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
Winner of quarter-final 1 v winner quarter-final 4 (venue to be announced)
Winner of quarter-final 2 v winner of quarter-final 3 (venue to be announced)
Venue to be announced.