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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

England draw Australia in 2013 Rugby League World Cup

New Zealand celebrate afer winning the 2008 rugby league World Cup
New Zealand beat Australia in Brisbane to win in 2008

Joint-hosts England have been drawn in the same group as Australia for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The two countries were placed in the same group in 2008 and comfortably progressed to the semi-finals.

Ireland and Fiji will complete Group A, with three teams qualifying, while Scotland are in Group C and co-hosts Wales have been drawn in Group D.

There are three teams in both group C and D, with just the winning team reaching the last eight.

Scotland are paired with Tonga and a European qualifier, while Wales face the Cook Islands and an Atlantic qualifier.

Champions New Zealand are paired with Papua New Guinea, France and Samoa in Group B, with three teams progressing through to the quarter-final stage.

The draw was made at the competition launch by the Rugby Football League in Manchester. Organisers have closely followed the model used for the 2008 World Cup in Australia.

In that competition the big three of England, Australia and New Zealand were all placed in the same group, alongside minnows Papua New Guinea.

The three fancied teams progressed through to the last four, with the rest of the teams left to battle through from two pools to claim the one remaining knock-out spot.

The format attracted initial criticism but achieved its objective of avoiding one-sided matches and was widely regarded as a success, generating a profit of around £2m.

This time the competition has been enlarged from 10 teams to 14 and there will be a quarter-final round.

Mike L - BBC Sport

Fellow-hosts Wales, who failed to qualify in 2008, and the Cook Islands, who were runners-up to Papua New Guinea in the 2009 Pacific Cup, were confirmed as two of the additional teams, with the other two to come from qualifying tournaments to be held in 2011 in Serbia and America.

Italy, Lebanon, Russia, Serbia, Jamaica, South Africa and the USA are the teams vying for the two remaining places.

"The last tournament staged in Australia in 2008 was an enormous success," said RFL chairman Richard Lewis.

"Our aim is to build on that success and to deliver a profitable tournament that further enhances the international game across the globe and raises the profile of the sport in the UK."

The RFL has invited tenders for venues but, with Wales jointly hosting the event, the Millennium Stadium is guaranteed to stage at least one high-profile match.

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

"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.

"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."

Prime Minister David Cameron, who was busy promoting England's bid to host the 2018 football World Cup, pledged the support of the coalition government in a promotional video.

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 need Aussie experience
31 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup to expand
23 Feb 10 |  Rugby League
UK to host Rugby League World Cup
28 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup history
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby League

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