World Cup Game for Shay
Thursday 22nd March 2012
Rugby League World Cup 2013 today announced the schedule of matches for the group games and quarter finals being held in October and November next year.
Here in Halifax we are delighted to be hosting the tie between Italy and Tonga.
The tournament will kick off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a spectacular first day including the opening ceremony, host nation Wales taking on Italy and co-hosts England playing Australia.
The tournament will be pushing Rugby League further than ever before with Limerick's Thomond Park in Ireland hosting Australia v Ireland and France playing New Zealand in Avignon and Samoa in Perpignan
The Group C match between italy and Tonga takes place at the Shay on a date to be announced, in November next year.
Calderdale Council, which has spent more than £5 million developing the ground, beat off stiff competition to bring a game to Halifax. Fourteen teams will compete at venues across England, Wales, France and Ireland and will be watched by a global TV audience.
The authority is now working to secure a sell-out 10,000 crowd - possibly more but that depends on ground safety certificates being granted - and will be involving the whole community in the build-up. Council development manager David Brook said exciting plans include:
Junior World Cup tag rugby; an education package linked to the world cup and curriculum; a marketing strategy including developing a one-off App for the game; dressing the town with banners; promoting tourism and targeting Italian restaurants and businesses generally to become involved.
"We want to make this the best game in the world cup," said Mr Brook.
Ticket prices are being kept low, probably between £8 and £10, and the matchday entertainment will include marching bands.
Attending the announcement of matches at the Shay, pupils of Brooksbank School, Elland, performed a traditional Tonga haka war cry.
They have been learning about different cultures as part of the school's centenary year. They were wearing black armbands in honour of the King of Tonga who passed away earlier this week and performed the Haka in his memory
Also present was Bradford Bulls front row forward Manase Manuokafoa, an Australian who represented Tonga in the 2008 world cup in Australia.He is looking forward to playing for Tonga at the Shay.
"It's a lovely statium and I can't wait and I hope the community comes together for the world cup," he said. "There will be a lot of passion from both teams."
Mario Marcinczak, an amateur hooker with West Bowling, has been involved with the Italian squad since it was formed in 2008. The tournament will project him onto the big stage in front of thousands. "It will be an amazing experience playing in front of a full house at the Shay," he said.
Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr. Pauline Nash, said: "This is great news for Halifax and Calderdale. I am delighted that The Shay will be hosting a match. Halifax and The Shay stadium will be on a world stage and this is a fantastic opportunity which we should all celebrate."
Nigel Wood, RLWC2103 Tournament Director said "This is an exciting day for all our hosts. They now know who will be playing or training in their stadiums and who their communities will be getting behind. We're saying to them ‘this is your World Cup, this fantastic international event will be putting the world's best Rugby League players right on your doorstep'. I have no doubt they will help to make this the best Rugby League World Cup so far".