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Wales to co-host 2013 Rugby League World Cup

Iestyn Harris helped Wales to the semi-final of two World Cups
Wales have reached two World Cup semi-finals, in 1995 and 2000

Wales will face the Cook Islands, an Atlantic qualifier and a European qualifier in the group stages of the 2013 World Cup.

England host the tournament, but games will be staged in Wales, Cardiff's Millennium Stadium guaranteed to welcome at least one high-profile tie.

"It is a privilege for Wales to be given this opportunity," said First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones.

The Rugby Football League have invited tenders from other potential venues.

Wales were semi-finalists at the 1995 and 2000 World Cups, but failed to qualify for the 10-team 2008 event.

The 2013 tournament has been expanded to 14 sides with Wales - now a full member of the Rugby League International Federation - one of 12 automatic qualifiers.

Wales' team at the Vetch Field, Swansea, in the 1991 World Cup
Wales' team at the Vetch Field, Swansea, in the 1991 World Cup

Under the seeding system, Wales will need to win Group D to advance to the quarter-finals.

Only the winners from Group C advance, but the top three sides from groups A and B will progress to the final eight.

"We saw tremendous success during the 1995 World Cup when Wales was host to numerous fixtures and the Welsh public came out in force to support their home team and to witness some of the world's greatest players," said Jones.

"With rugby league enjoying a new-found growth in Wales in recent years and, with the sport having been played in schools throughout the country for the past eight years, we are confident that hosting games in venues such as the Millennium Stadium will be a great way of helping boost the sport in Wales."

Group structure:

Group A: England, Australia, Fiji, Ireland (three go through to quarter-finals)

Group B: New Zealand, France, Papua New Guinea, Samoa (three go through to quarter-finals)

Group C: Scotland, Tonga, European qualifier (winners through to quarter-finals)

Group D: Wales, Cook Islands, Atlantic qualifier (winners through to quarter-finals).

*In Groups C and D, teams play the other nations in their group and also one team from the opposite group as follows: Scotland v Atlantic qualifier, Tonga v Cook Islands, Wales v European qualifier

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see also
England draw Aussies in World Cup
30 Nov 10 |  Rugby League
Wales given 2013 World Cup spot
07 May 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup to expand
23 Feb 10 |  Rugby League
World Cup set for 12-team format
01 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
UK to host Rugby League World Cup
28 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Wales targets RL World Cup games
28 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Welsh convert XIII
10 May 10 |  Rugby League
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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