Nigel Wood has congratulated all 14 nations involved in Rugby League World Cup 2013 for the part they have played in making the last seven days “the most momentous week in the sport’s recent history.”
The opening seven fixtures have all been played out in front of packed stadiums and have been supremely competitive, suggesting that tournament organisers are on track to realise their ambition of making it the greatest Rugby League World Cup of all time.
With many other group games close to sell-out, massive demand for the final at Old Trafford on Saturday November 30 and a full complement of sponsors already on board, RLWC2013 Tournament Director Nigel Wood believes there has never been a better time to be a Rugby League supporter.
“Rugby League World Cup 2013 is delivering everything we expected of it and more, and I would like to thank all the teams for their magnificent efforts on the pitch over the last week,” said Wood.
“In many ways this has been the most momentous week in the sport’s recent history: World Cup fever has elevated Rugby League’s profile to a new level both nationally and internationally and everyone involved deserves rich praise.
“The competitive nature of all the games so far has been outstanding, as has the atmosphere at venues like Workington, Rochdale and Bristol.
“A wonderful opening ceremony in Cardiff last Saturday set extremely high standards but since England and Australia got things underway, the bar has been raised still further with every pass and every kick.
“Some fans missed out on the action at Warrington last Sunday because New Zealand v Samoa was played out in front of a capacity crowd and we have a growing waiting list for tickets for the sell-out game between England and Ireland at Huddersfield on Saturday.
“We expect to announce further sell-outs in the next few days and I would advise anyone who has not yet purchased their tickets for any of the remaining games to do so with some urgency.”
The tournament has also seen thousands of youngsters become involved with the sport through an ambitious and inspiring £1m dance programme co-funded by Arts Council England.
Over 90,000 people have already poured through the turnstiles to see the opening seven fixtures, which have been won by an average winning margin of just 10 points.
As well as a box office success, RLWC2013 has also proved to be the sport’s most appealing tournament in terms of sponsorship engagement, a situation which Wood believes bodes well for Rugby League in the UK.
“I am delighted to be able to confirm that RLWC2013’s commercial portfolio is now full and that we have exceeded the sponsorship targets we set before the start of the tournament,” said Wood.
“RLWC2013 is not only attracting many new supporters, it is introducing a whole host of commercial partners and sponsors to Rugby League for the first time and the feedback we have received so far is that many of them are very pleased with the opportunities the sport affords them.
“International sport attracts international brands and the partnerships we are forging are helping us achieve our ambitions both for the tournament and its long-term legacy.”
RLWC2013 continues with a sell-out match between New Zealand and France in Avignon (8.00pm local time, 7.00pm GMT) before moving on to Huddersfield on Saturday, when a capacity crowd will pack the John Smith’s Stadium to see England play Ireland (2.30pm).
Tickets for the 12 other remaining group fixtures are still available but many are in short supply and fans are advised to book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or by calling the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.