22nd April 2016
Rugby League Four Nations internationals
Two mouth-watering Rugby League Four Nations internationals will be staged at the home of Wasps – the Ricoh Arena – later this year.
The 32,609-seater venue has been selected to host a double-header on Saturday, November 5 with England taking on Scotland at 5.30pm, followed by a repeat of the 2014 final when Australia face New Zealand at 8pm.
The three-round tournament will arrive in Coventry for the second round stage, with results set to have a significant bearing on which two teams reach the final.
England – under the guidance of their new Australian head coach Wayne Bennett – will be looking to triumph as champions at the fifth attempt and break the dominance of the Kangeroos and Kiwis.
It’ll be only the second time the Wasps-owned venue will stage rugby league and it will be the highest level of the sport to ever be played in the city which is home to Coventry Bears Rugby League club. The Coventry Bears will play Keighley Cougars at the Ricoh Arena on 8 May.
David Armstrong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Wasps, said securing the Four Nations internationals was part of its strategy since acquiring the Ricoh Arena to put the club and the venue on the global stage as the host of a wide range of sports.
He said: “This will be the fifth Rugby League Four Nations tournament and we are proud to be hosting top-class internationals from England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand at the Ricoh Arena.
“We have a world-class stadium with fantastic facilities and hosting two high-profile games of this nature will have the added bonus of encouraging more people to have a go at the sport.
“Fans from across the world will be heading to the Ricoh Arena to the double-header which means there will be another positive economic spin-off for the region as well as the opportunity to raise the profile of the Midlands.
“Hosting the Four Nations sits proudly alongside the major music events we have on the horizon with MTV Crashes Coventry, Rihanna and Bruce Springsteen and the E Band also taking centre stage in the stadium bowl which will further put Wasps, the Ricoh Arena and the city of Coventry on the map internationally and nationally.”
Andy Gibb, Managing Director of the Ricoh Arena, said being chosen as a host is of great significance for the venue and the city.
He said: “Seeing some of rugby league’s top superstars gracing the home of Wasps is an opportunity no sporting fan will want to miss.
“The games will be watched by millions on TV around the world, so to have these games right here in the Midlands shows we have a venue that is a centre for top-class sport and will be a great opportunity to further showcase the Ricoh Arena across the globe.
“Though it’s only February, preparations for the games start now for what is bound to be an explosive rugby spectacle on Bonfire Night.
“From a wider perspective this only adds strength to Coventry – a “City of Rugby” which aims to promote rugby and its core values within the city, with the objective of making Coventry one of the leading cities in the world for every level of the sport by 2023.”
The matches will create a great deal of interest among the rugby community in the Midlands particularly with Wasps’ Director of Rugby Dai Young, who played for rugby league clubs Leeds and Salford and was captain of Wales in the 1995 Rugby League World Cup before switching codes.
The announcement is also a boost for the local economy, with both matches set to bring in thousands of fans from all over the world.
A positive impact on grassroots clubs
Cllr Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “I’m delighted that Four Nations rugby league is coming to Coventry. It’s another major event to add to the Ricoh’s growing list of world-class sporting events.
“Events of this quality really have a positive impact on grassroots clubs and interest always peaks when big sporting events like this are on. Encouraging more people to take part in and enjoy sport is a top priority for us and announcements like this one really help.
“Coventry has a proud sporting tradition and I’m glad that the city's ten-year partnership sports strategy is proving such a success.”
The Ricoh Arena is one of six venues to host matches this year. Other stadiums include Hull, Huddersfield, Workington and London, with the final to take place at Liverpool.
Tickets go on sale on 22 April and start from £20. To purchase, visit www.ricoharena.com.