RFL confirm cup venues
Four countries to host matches
Last Updated: 28/11/11 4:02pm
Thomond Park: One of 18 venues chosen to host Rugby World Cup games
The RFL has confirmed 18 venues across four countries will host games in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Avignon and Perpignan in France and Ireland's Thomond Park, the rugby union stronghold of Munster, are among those that will stage games during the 14-team tournament.
Six other venues which will host participating teams while venues for the opening ceremony, the semi-finals and the final, as well as the precise fixtures, will be confirmed early in the New Year.
Organisers are using the new grounds which St Helens and Salford will move into for the start of the 2012 Super League season, as well as the planned Pow Beck Stadium in Whitehaven.
Widnes' Halton Stadium misses out, though, because its synthetic pitch has not been sanctioned by the Rugby League International Federation, as does Leeds' Elland Road, which drew a capacity crowd for the recent Four Nations final.
The quarter-finals will be held at Headingley, Wrexham, Warrington and Wigan.
Tournament director Nigel Wood said: "We experienced massive interest in hosting matches from all across Europe and we have had to make some tough decisions.
"We are excited that the tournament will visit established world-class rugby league venues but will also visit some new locations, including Bristol and Whitehaven, where we see unique opportunities to grow the game and to deliver a lasting legacy for our sport.
"It's important that we remind ourselves that rugby league is played in other parts of Europe and our decision to take matches to France, and indeed Ireland, is a reflection of that.
"Rugby League Ireland have made some significant gains over the last decade and only a few weeks ago Ireland played France at Thomond Park in front of a reasonable crowd so we wanted to show our support."
Wood admitted the selection process involved some tough decision-making.
"We've still got some ongoing discussions with a number of quality facilities and so we've held back the announcements on the rest of the venues until February," he added.
"We had a terrific bid from the city of Leeds but there are only 28 games to go round so somebody has to be disappointed.
"The selection committee have done what they could to ensure the most appropriate mix and blend of facility has been allocated."
The tournament will consist of two pools of four and two of three.
England have been drawn alongside Australia, Fiji and Ireland in Group A while holders New Zealand will face Papua New Guinea, Samoa and France in Group B.
Scotland will face Tonga and Italy in Group C and Wales have been drawn against the Cook Islands and the USA in Group D.
The 2013 World Cup grounds
Avignon: The Parc des Sports, which drew a crowd of 16,866 for France's recent international against England, will host a group match.
Bristol: The Memorial Ground will stage a group match, while Filton College will be used as a team training venue.
Halifax: The renovated Shay Stadium will host a group match.
Huddersfield: The Galpharm Stadium, a semi-final venue in 2000, will host a group match.
Hull: Both the KC Stadium and Craven Park will host group matches with the city also hosting two team base camps and team training venues.
Leeds: Headingley will host a group match and a quarter-final while two teams will set up base camps in the city along with a team training venue being utilised.
Limerick: Thomond Park, which hosted a first rugby league match last month, will be a venue for a group match.
Perpignan: The Stade Gilbert Brutus, home of Catalan Dragons and a regular Test venue, will host a group match.
Neath: The Gnoll, home of South Wales Scorpions, will host a group match.
Rochdale: Spotland Stadium, which is the home of Championship One club Hornets, will host a group match.
Salford: The Reds' new City of Salford Stadium at Barton will host a group match and the city will also host a team base camp.
St Helens: Saints' new £26million Langtree Park will host a group match.
Warrington: The enlarged Halliwell Jones Stadium will host a group match and quarter-final. The town will also host a team base camp and the University of Chester will be used as a team training venue.
Whitehaven: The planned Pow Beck Stadium, whose initial capacity of 3,200 can be expanded to 5,000 with the use of temporary stands, will host group matches, with the Cumbria Sports Academy used as a team training venue.
Wigan: The Leigh Sports Village will host a group match and will be used as a training venue while Wigan's DW Stadium will host a quarter-final.
Wrexham: The Racecourse Stadium, home of North Wales Crusaders, will host a group match and a quarter-final, while Wrexham will also host a team base camp and training venue.
Bolton: Will be a team base camp with Bolton Arena's facilities used as a team training venue.
Bradford: the Bulls' Tong High School facilities will be used as a team training venue.
Manchester: Will host a team base camp and will also provide a team training venue.
Preston: The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will provide team training facilities at UCLan Sports Arena with Preston also hosting a team base camp.
Widnes: Will host a team base camp and the Stobart Stadium will be a training venue.
Workington: Will host a team base camp.