RFL Chairman Brian Barwick is calling on every proud England supporter to give the national team their full backing as they prepare to face defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals of Rugby League World Cup 2013 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (1.00pm).
Over 63,000 tickets have already been snapped up for the Wembley double-header which concludes with the semi-final between Australia and Fiji (3.30pm) and Barwick is urging home fans to turn Wembley into a cauldron of noise.
England have not won Rugby League’s most coveted prize since the 1972 World Cup but will go into Saturday’s semi-final honed by four years of intensive preparation which Barwick believes leaves them perfectly placed to realise all their ambitions in the coming weeks.
“It’s safe to say that the semi-final against New Zealand is the biggest game in England’s recent history and I am sure that Steve McNamara and his team will rise to the challenge of meeting the world champions head on,” said Barwick.
“I have been mightily impressed with the unstinting effort and meticulous attention to detail that is going into everything the England squad do.
“It has been a long journey to this point and I think it is important that England know they have the entire nation behind them.
“The support shown by England fans, indeed all Rugby League supporters so far in the tournament has been little short of fantastic. They have been joined by many more for whom Rugby League has become a recent passion.
“It would be good to see that support raised a notch or two this week to help England.
“It is difficult to overstate the importance of international success and every England fan now has an opportunity to help us achieve just that by throwing all their weight behind Kevin Sinfield and his team-mates.
“I know all about Wembley Stadium and the atmosphere it can produce on the big occasion: undoubtedly, Saturday is one of those occasions. I can’t wait.
“I make no apologies for believing that Wembley Stadium is both iconic and the greatest sports stadium in the world. I am delighted it is playing its part in what has been a simply wonderful tournament.
“See you there on Saturday: everyone know who I will be supporting!”
Demand for tickets for the ‘Big Hit’ RLWC2013 semi-final double-header at Wembley Stadium on Saturday November 23 – England v Australia (1.00pm) and New Zealand v Fiji (3.30pm) – is huge and fans are advised to move quickly to secure their seat. Tickets cost from just £20 (£10 concessions) and can be purchased by visiting www.rlwc2013.com or calling the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.