Wrexham’s famous Racecourse Ground will play host to Wales vs USA at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup it has been announced this morning.
The tournament schedule has been unveiled in Cardiff today, with the announcement that the Group D match between co-hosts Wales and World Cup newcomers USA will take place here in Wrexham.
The Racecourse will also play host to a quarter final match in the competition.
To add to the town’s ties to the tournament Wrexham will be home to the Welsh national side during the competition, as both a team base camp and training venue in what promises to be the biggest and best World Cup yet.
The Racecourse is the world’s oldest international sporting ground currently in use and will host world cup matches for the second time after staging the Wales vs. Cook Island game during the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.
The USA, who are nicknamed the Tomahawks, will compete in the Rugby League World Cup for the first time after defeating both Jamaica and South Africa to qualify for the competition.
The fixture will mark the second time the sides have met. They previously played each other in Philadelphia in June 1995, where Wales ran out 66 -10 winners.
Since then, the game has gone from strength to strength in the US, with the development of a strong domestic league coupled with the great strides made by the national side, who are managed by former Bradford coach Matthew Elliot.
Lawrence Isted, Head of Community Wellbeing and Development at Wrexham Council, said: “We are thrilled that the Wales team have chosen Wrexham for their training camp. The county borough is home to world class sporting facilities, including the Queensway Sports Stadium, where the national side will be based.
“As well as being a tremendous sporting occasion, the tournament will bring welcome economic benefits to the region. Wrexham has a lot to offer in terms of hotels, restaurants, bars and leisure activities – all of which will receive a boost during the competition.
“We are also looking forward to welcoming the USA Tomahawks to Wrexham. They can expect a warm welcome from the people of Wrexham and North Wales. We are currently planning an exciting line up of events both in the lead up to and during the competition and we want everyone to feel part of this great occasion.”
Professor Michael Scott, Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: “We are delighted that the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium will host such a prestigious event. The stadium is a community facility and rapidly establishing itself as a key venue for professional rugby league – and as the leading venue in north Wales for world-class sports fixtures.
“The fact that it is Wales who will be playing makes it that extra bit special and I’m sure the people of Wrexham will turn out in force to support their home nation.”
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.
Fourteen nations have qualified for the final stages, which will be broadcast to 120 countries around the world. They will play in four groups as follows.
Group A: Australia, England, Fiji, Ireland;
Group B: New Zealand, France, Papua New Guinea, Samoa;
Group C: Scotland, Tonga, Italy;
Group D: Wales, Cook Islands, USA.
Upwards of half a million people are expected to watch the 28 matches live over a six-week period in the autumn of 2013 with a further 20 million viewers from 120 countries tuning in around the world.
You can lend your support to Wrexham 2013 by visiting the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/rugbywrexham2013.