Rugby League World Cup 2013 today announced the group games and quarter final matches for the tournament being held in October and November next year.

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.

Welsh hosts Wrexham’s Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground have Wales taking on the USA and one of the tournament quarter-finals. While in Neath, home supporters at The Gnoll can see the men in red take on the Cook Islands.

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.

Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the Welsh Government said, "We are delighted that Wales will join our neighbours England in hosting the Rugby League World Cup final this year. It’s wonderful that our capital city, Cardiff, will host participating countries before the tournament – the only time these nations will all unite during the World Cup.

"Hosting the opening ceremony and the double header here at the Millennium Stadium, in addition to matches at Wrexham and Neath, will have major international significance and we look forward to welcoming the world to Wales in 2013"

Richard Lewis, Chairman RLWC2013 Ltd. said “This is an exciting day and an important milestone in our planning for this tournament. We are using one of the iconic locations in British sport; the Millennium Stadium. The opening ceremony and double header will give fans the chance to see the best players in the world going head to head”.

Councillor Nigel Howells, Executive member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, said: “This is great news for Cardiff and it’s wonderful to be able to host yet another major sporting event in the city. Over the last decade Cardiff has built an international reputation for successfully delivering high profile sporting events, including; the Rugby World Cup; FA Cup and Heineken Cup Finals, an Ashes test match as well as the forthcoming Olympic football matches.

"Cardiff was recently awarded the status of European Capital of Sport and to be able to host the opening ceremony and first games of the Rugby League World Cup is another significant feather in our sporting cap.”

Roger Lewis, WRU (Owners of the Millennium Stadium) Group Chief Executive, said “This is a great time for Welsh sport and the Millennium Stadium in particular. To add another truly international event to our list and to be part of making the start of RWLC2013 really special for the tournament and the fans is a real accolade for us”.

Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said: “As the lead agency responsible for major international sporting events, UK Sport is proud to be supporting RLWC2013 through our National Lottery funded Events Programme.”

Rugby World Cup draw

Group A

England v Australia Millennium Stadium, Cardiff*
Fiji v Ireland Spotland Stadium, Rochdale
England v Ireland The Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield
Australia v Fiji Langtree Park, St Helens
England v Fiji KC Stadium, Hull
Australia v Ireland Thomond Park Stadium, Limerick

Group B

France v Papua N Guinea MS3 Craven Park, Hull
New Zealand v Samoa The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
France v New Zealand Parc des Sports, Avignon     
Samoa v Papua New Guinea MS3 Craven Park, HulL
NZ v Papua New Guinea Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
France v Samoa Gilbert Brutus Stadium, Perpignan

Group C

Scotland v Tonga Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Scotland v Italy Pow Beck Stadium, Whitehaven
Tonga v Italy The Shay Stadium, Halifax

Group D

Cook Islands v USA The Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Wales v USA Glynd?r University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Wales v Cook Islands The Gnoll, Neath

Group C/D

Wales v Italy Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Tonga v Cook Islands Leigh Sports Village
Scotland v USA City of Salford Community Stadium

Quarters Finals

Winner A v Winner D                          Glynd?r University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Runner Up A v 3rd place B                  DW Stadium, Wigan
Winner B v Winner C                          Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
Runner Up B v      3rd place A             The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington 

Semi Finals

Winner Q/F 1 v Winner Q/F 4              To be confirmed
Winner Q/F 2 v Winner Q/F 3              To be confirmed

The World Cup Final                           To be confirmed
* Double header