Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fiji's Coming Home!

Suva - exactly like Rochdale in every way!
The Rugby League World Cup 2013 today announced the group games and quarter final matches for the tournament. The tournament will kick off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a double header as Wales play Italy in the curtain raiser for England v Australia. But all eyes in the first round of games will be on Rochdale as Hornets will host Fiji v Ireland. Indeed, it's already capturing the media's attention.

Today's Guardian Sport said of the game at Spotland: "That may sound an unlikely and uninspiring location but it actually makes a fair bit of sense, as Rochdale has had a thriving Fijian community since a number of trailblazers came to play for the town's rugby league club in the early 1960s.", official website of the Fiji National Rugby League says: "There has been a long history of Fijian players making their mark in rugby league, most notably back in the 1960s when great players such as Joe Levula and Laitia Ravouvou joined Rochdale Hornets and became household names in the English competition."

Certainly, Rochdale will feel like Suva for a day as the town's RL fans become temporary Fijians and celebrate the massive contribution that Fiji has made to the town's sporting culture.

The first round in full is:
Group A (three to qualify) 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.