Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially marked the arrival in Ireland of the Rugby League World Cup Trophy, the oldest trophy in world rugby.
Thomond Park in Limerick will be the only Irish venue to host a match in this year's Rugby League World Cup tournament, which is being hosted by Wales and England. The home of Munster Rugby will see Ireland play Australia in their Group A clash on November 9th in front of an expected global TV audience of over 20 million viewers.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. was joined at the Department of the Taoiseach by Dr. Ruth Adler (Australian Ambassador to Ireland), John Concannon (Failte Ireland) and Sally Bolton (RLWC2013) as well as representatives of the Shannon Conference and Sports Bureau, Shannon Development and Rugby League Ireland, who successfully bid to have the World Cup group tie played in Ireland.
The Rugby League World Cup Trophy is presently being brought on a tour of various locations throughout Ireland and Britain. The trophy will be officially welcomed to Northern Ireland on Friday by the Mayor of Derry.
Kenny said "I congratulate all those involved in the successful bid to bring the Rugby League World Cup to Ireland's Thomond Park. This is a great opportunity in the year of the Gathering 2013 to stimulate further international interest in Ireland and the popularity of the sport in Australia should see Limerick and the Mid West region showcased to a huge audience. We look forward to an exciting clash between Ireland and Australia in November."
RLWC2013 General Manager, Sally Bolton commented: “It is fantastic for us to have our Trophy, the oldest trophy in world Rugby, visiting Ireland. It has had many prestigious ports of call on its tour around Britain and Ireland and none more so than a visit to the Office of An Taoiseach in Dublin. We hope it inspires Irish sports fans to get behind their team for the game against Australia at Thomond Park in November.”
The 2013 tournament will be contested by 14 teams including Ireland, Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Wales, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Tonga, Cook Islands, Italy and the United States. New Zealand are the defending champions, having defeated Australia in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup final.
Shannon Development and the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau teamed up with Rugby League Ireland and Thomond Park in July 2011 to launch a successful bid for Limerick’s right to host a game in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Thomond Park is amongst a list 20 tournament host venues, including Wembley Stadium in London, Old Trafford in Manchester, and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.