With the qualifiers now over, we have the complete list of the 14 teams who’ll compete in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. The nations awarded automatic qualification – Australia, Cook Islands, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, and Wales – will be joined in the competition by the winners of the European and Atlantic qualifying groups.
The qualifying tournaments, held in October of this year, saw Italy emerge victorious in the European group after edging out Lebanon on goal difference, and the USA – continuing their annoying quest to get involved in proper sports as well as their own wussified versions – finishing top of the Atlantic group with 40 – 4 score lines over both Jamaica and South Africa.
Thanks to its policy of bidding for every sports event there is and hoping they get one, the UK won the right to host the 2013 event – and with the line up now complete, the teams will look ahead and prepare.
The teams and authorities have talked much about raising the awareness of the game, and the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) will look to build on the success of the 2008 World Cup in Australia, which went a long way to repair the sport’s global image after the disastrous World Cup of 2000 in England – where poor weather spoilt the event and left the Rugby Football League in debt.
The RLIF hopes that a successful World Cup in 2013 and the increased international activity will help the sport grow and better compete with the Union code for attention on the international stage – where it now struggles. One BBM contributor had to be told twice that he was writing about League instead of Union, because he’d forgotten all about the qualifiers ever taking place. What a handsome idiot that man is…
By Peter Simpson