RUGBY LEAGUE TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN COVENTRY
The Ricoh Arena is set for a bumper crowd as rugby league’s international elite go head-to-head in the Midlands for the first time in 104 years.
A double-header of action on Saturday, November 5 will see England take on Scotland before World Cup holders Australia play number one ranked side New Zealand at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in the Ladbrokes Four Nations tournament.
It’s the first time international rugby league will be staged in the region since New Year’s Day in 1912 when Great Britain were defeated 33-8 by Australia at Villa Park in Birmingham.
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.
The double-header is welcome news for Coventry’s City of Rugby strategy that aims to establish the city as a world leader at every level of the sport by 2023.
The Four Nations tournament director Jon Dutton is expecting thousands of people from all over the world to descend on the Midlands to see the world heavyweights clash in unknown territory.
He said: “We are really excited to be breaking new ground and bringing the Four Nations tournament to the Midlands for the very first time.
“It’s been five years since we last held the Four Nations which attracted over 130,000 fans and a domestic television audience of millions, so anticipation of the tournament is incredibly high.
“We expect the double-header to be one of our most popular match days, as it’s the only double-header of this year’s tournament which provides a unique opportunity to get a look at each of the teams all on the same day.
“Coventry’s long-term vision for the game of rugby is helping to drive the Midlands’ interest in the game as a whole, and we believe bringing these prestigious games here will help to fuel that further.
“We are sure that the double-header will deliver some explosive, memorable action in a very special atmosphere.”
Other stadiums hosting matches this year include Hull, Huddersfield, Workington and London, with the final to take place at Liverpool.
Jon added: “We were keen to pick locations in the country that will pull in big crowds, but equally ones that have experience of operating big rugby events.
“The Ricoh Arena has experience in planning for and hosting nearly every type of sport, so the venue ticked every box for us to hold our double-header weekend.”
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 test themselves against each other is an opportunity no sporting fan will want to miss.
“The games will be watched by a global TV audience, 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 world.”
Tickets start from £20. For more information visit www.rugby-league.com/tickets