World Cup coming to Thomond Park
Published 29/11/2011 | 05:00
THE Rugby World Cup is coming to Thomond Park, but it's the league version of the game and not the game Limerick fans are used to.
The 2013 tournament will be staged in four countries, at 18 venues spread across England, Wales, Ireland and France for the group stages.
Earlier this month, Munster rugby's stronghold staged its first rugby league international when a 3,000-plus crowd turned up to see France beat Ireland.
Officials also announced six other stadia which will host teams while venues for the opening ceremony, the semi-finals and the final, as well as the fixtures, will be confirmed early in the new year.
Thomond Park will be a venue for a group match involving Ireland, who are in Group A with England, Fiji and Australia. Holders New Zealand face Papua New Guinea, Samoa and France in Group B.
Scotland will face Tonga and Italy in Group C, while Wales have been drawn against the Cook Islands and the USA in Group D.
Tournament director Nigel Wood said: "We experienced massive interest in hosting matches from all across Europe and we have had to make some tough decisions.
"We are excited that the tournament will visit established world-class venues but we see unique opportunities to grow the game and to deliver a lasting legacy for our sport," Wood concluded.
Old Trafford has been mooted as the likely site for the final, although the success of the Four Nations between England and Australia match at Wembley earlier this month has offered an alternative.
Northampton Town Football Club are holding a presentation on Thursday for their bid to join Championship 1 in 2013. The Rugby Football League has invited applications from outside the heartlands to fill the vacancies in the restructured lower divisions.