2013 Rugby League World Cup

2013 (2013) World Cup  ()
Number of teams 14[1]
Host countries  England
Winner  Australia (10th title)

Matches played 28
Attendance 458,483 (16,374 per match)
Top scorer Shaun Johnson (76)
Top try scorer Brett Morris
Jarryd Hayne
(9 tries each)
 < 2008
2017 > 

The 2013 Rugby League World Cup was the fourteenth staging of the Rugby League World Cup and took place in England, Wales, France and Ireland.[2][3][4][5] between 26 October and 30 November 2013.

It was the main event of the year's Festival of World Cups. Fourteen teams contested the tournament: Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Wales, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Cook Islands, Italy and the United States. The latter two were competing in the Rugby League World Cup for the very first time.[6]

New Zealand were the defending champions, having defeated Australia in 2008. Australia won the tournament, beating New Zealand 34–2 in the final to lift the Rugby League World Cup for the tenth time.[7][8]

In terms of attendance, exposure and revenue, Rugby League World Cup 2013 is considered the most successful Rugby League World Cup to date.[9]



The Rugby League International Federation confirmed this competition as a part of its international program. The RLIF announced a five-year plan to build up to the 2013 World Cup with Four Nations tournaments held in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The competition was part of the UK's "Golden Decade of Sport".[10] 2013 was chosen as the year of the World Cup to avoid a clash with the London Olympics in 2012.[11] After 2013, the Cup will be held on a quadrennial cycle.

Host selection

In addition to the United Kingdom, Australia announced its intention to bid for the hosting rights, despite hosting the previous World Cup in 2008.[12] The Australian Rugby League had been preparing a rival bid due to the success of the 2008 event but the business plan presented by the Rugby Football League for the UK to be the host was accepted by the RLIF at a meeting in July 2009.[11][13] The event forms part of what is being dubbed a 'Golden Decade' in British Sport.[2]

The UK last hosted the World Cup in 2000, with the event generally being considered unsuccessful.[11]

Prince Charles welcomed representatives of all 14 nations and tournament organisers with a reception at Clarence House.[14]


There were two qualifying pools for the remaining two World Cup places; a European and an Atlantic pool, with one side from each to qualify.

The European Qualifying group involved Italy, Lebanon, Russia and Serbia while the Atlantic Qualifying group involved Jamaica, South Africa and the USA.[15] In the Atlantic Qualifiers the United States and Jamaica defeated South Africa in the opening rounds leaving the final match between the two to determine who qualified for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. United States defeated Jamaica to qualify for their first ever Rugby League World Cup.[16]


The competition featured fourteen teams, compared to ten in 2008.[1] Originally around twenty teams were to be involved in qualification,[17] but subsequently the total number of teams involved in the tournament was fixed at nineteen. Twelve nations automatically qualified; the ten nations that contested the previous World Cup, Wales as winners of the 2009 European Nations Cup[18] and the Cook Islands as runners up in the 2009 Pacific Cup.[19]

Team Nickname Coach Captain RLIF rank
 Australia (14th appearance) The Kangaroos Tim Sheens Cameron Smith 1
 Cook Islands (2nd appearance) The Kukis David Fairleigh Zeb Taia 18
 England (5th appearance) The Wall of White Steve McNamara Kevin Sinfield 3
 Fiji (4th appearance) The Bati Rick Stone Petero Civoniceva 7
 France (14th appearance) Les Chanticleers Richard Agar Olivier Elima 4
 Ireland (3rd appearance) The Wolfhounds Mark Aston Liam Finn 9
 Italy (1st appearance) The Azzurri Carlo Napolitano Anthony Minichiello 13
 New Zealand (14th appearance) The Kiwis Stephen Kearney Simon Mannering 2
 Papua New Guinea (6th appearance) The Kumuls Adrian Lam Neville Costigan 6
 Samoa (4th appearance) Toa Samoa Matt Parish Harrison Hansen 8
 Scotland (3rd appearance) The Bravehearts Steve McCormack Danny Brough 11
 Tonga (4th appearance) Mate Ma'a Tonga Charlie Tonga Brent Kite 10
 United States (1st appearance) The Tomahawks Terry Matterson Joseph Paulo 12
 Wales (4th appearance) The Dragons Iestyn Harris Craig Kopczak 5

Match officials

Rules and officiating panel: Daniel Anderson, Stuart Cummings and David Waite.[20]

Pre-tournament matches

Before the World Cup it was announced that USA would face France in Toulouse,[22] Scotland would play Papua New Guinea at Featherstone,[23] England would play Italy at Salford,[24] New Zealand would play the Cook Islands in Doncaster[25] and England Knights would play Samoa at Salford.[26]

18 October 2013France 18–22 United StatesStade des Minimes, Toulouse
19 October 2013Rochdale Hornets 0–78 FijiSpotland Stadium, Rochdale
19 October 2013England 14–15 ItalyAJ Bell Stadium, Eccles[27]
19 October 2013England Knights 52–16 SamoaAJ Bell Stadium, Eccles[28]
19 October 2013Papua New Guinea 38–20 ScotlandPost Office Road, Featherstone[29]
20 October 2013New Zealand 50–0 Cook IslandsKeepmoat Stadium, Doncaster[30]


The games were played at various venues in England, Wales, Ireland, and France.

Group stage venues

Matches were subject to a bidding process run by the Rugby Football League.

The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was the host stadium for the opening ceremony and a double header featuring hosts England playing Australia and Wales taking on Italy.[19] The decision to play England vs Australia in Cardiff to open the tournament drew criticism from some in the press who believed that the game should have been played in England where a higher attendance could be expected, or at least a full house which would have looked better than the almost half empty Millennium Stadium.[31]

Cardiff Limerick Hull Huddersfield Leeds St. Helens
Millennium Stadium Thomond Park[32] KC Stadium John Smith's Stadium Headingley Langtree Park
Capacity: 74,500 Capacity: 26,500 Capacity: 25,586 Capacity: 24,500 Capacity: 21,062 Capacity: 18,000
Avignon Warrington Halifax Perpignan Bristol Salford
Parc des Sports Halliwell Jones Stadium[33] The Shay Stade Gilbert Brutus Memorial Stadium Salford City Stadium
Capacity: 17,518 Capacity: 15,200 Capacity: 14,061 Capacity: 13,000 Capacity: 12,100 Capacity: 12,000
Leigh Wrexham Rochdale Hull Workington Neath
Leigh Sports Village Racecourse Ground Spotland Craven Park Derwent Park[34] The Gnoll
Capacity: 11,000 Capacity: 10,500 Capacity: 10,249 Capacity: 10,000 Capacity: 10,000 Capacity: 5,000

Knock-out stage venues

Headingley in Leeds, the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham and the DW Stadium in Wigan hosted the quarter-finals. Both semi-finals were hosted at Wembley Stadium, with the final held at Old Trafford.

London Manchester Wigan
Wembley Stadium Old Trafford DW Stadium
Capacity: 90,000 Capacity: 76,212 Capacity: 25,133

Match summary

The match schedule was announced on 22 March 2012.[35] The Rugby League International Federation announced the kickoff times of the matches, with the opening kickoff to be held on 26 October in Cardiff, at 14:30 local time. The group stage matches will be played at 14:00, 14:30, 16:00, 16:30, 18:00, and 20:00 local time, with knockout stage matches at 13:00, 15:00, and 20:00 local time. The semi-finals will be played at 13:00 and 15:30 local time and the final, on 30 November 2013 at the Old Trafford stadium, at 14:30 local time.

Group stage

The draw, undertaken at the launch of the event in Manchester on 30 November 2010, involved four groups[19] The first two groups are made up of four teams whilst the other two groups feature three teams each. There will be a quarter-final round made up of the first three teams in the first two groups and the winners of each of the smaller groups. Group play will involve a round robin in the larger groups, and a round robin in the smaller groups with an additional inter-group game for each team so all teams will play three group games.[19]

Key to colours in group tables
Advances to knockout stage

Group A

Pld W D L TF PF PA +/ Pts
 Australia 33002011222+906
 England 3201189640+564
 Fiji 310284682–362
 Ireland 3003314124–1100
26 October 2013Australia 28–20 EnglandMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
28 October 2013Fiji 32–14 IrelandSpotland Stadium, Rochdale
2 November 2013England 42–0 IrelandJohn Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield
2 November 2013Australia 34–2 FijiLangtree Park, St Helens
9 November 2013England 34–12 FijiKC Stadium, Hull
9 November 2013Australia 50–0 IrelandThomond Park, Limerick

Group B

Pld W D L TF PF PA +/ Pts
 New Zealand 33002614634+1126
 Samoa 3201148452+324
 France 310221578–632
 Papua New Guinea 3003522103–810
27 October 2013Papua New Guinea 8–9 FranceCraven Park, Hull
27 October 2013New Zealand 42–24 SamoaHalliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
1 November 2013New Zealand 48–0 FranceParc des Sports, Avignon
4 November 2013Papua New Guinea 4–38 SamoaCraven Park, Hull
8 November 2013New Zealand 56–10 Papua New GuineaHeadingley, Leeds
11 November 2013France 6–22 SamoaStade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan

Group C

Pld W D L TF PF PA +/ Pts
 Scotland 3210137862+165
 Tonga 3201126242+204
 Italy 311111626203
29 October 2013Tonga 24–26 ScotlandDerwent Park, Workington
3 November 2013Scotland 30–30 ItalyDerwent Park, Workington
10 November 2013Tonga 16–0 ItalyThe Shay, Halifax

Group D

Pld W D L TF PF PA +/ Pts
 United States 3201136458+64
 Cook Islands 3102126478–142
 Wales 3003115684–280
30 October 2013United States 32–20 Cook IslandsMemorial Stadium, Bristol
3 November 2013Wales 16–24 United StatesRacecourse Ground, Wrexham
10 November 2013Wales 24–28 Cook IslandsThe Gnoll, Neath

Inter-group matches

26 October 2013Wales 16–32 ItalyMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
5 November 2013Tonga 22–16 Cook IslandsLeigh Sports Village, Leigh
7 November 2013Scotland 22–8 United StatesAJ Bell Stadium, Eccles

Knockout stage

Quarter-finals will follow the group stage, with three teams from each of Groups A and B and one team from each of Groups C and D qualifying.

All times listed below are in Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0) for English and Welsh venues.

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
A1  Australia 62
D1  United States 0
A1  Australia 64
A3  Fiji 0
B2  Samoa 4
A3  Fiji 22
A1  Australia 34
B1  New Zealand 2
A2  England 34
B3  France 6
A2  England 18
B1  New Zealand 20
B1  New Zealand 40
C1  Scotland 4


15 November 2013
New Zealand  40–4  Scotland
Try: Goodwin (2) 8' m, 71' m
Bromwich 15' c
Tuivasa-Sheck (2) 20' m, 50' c
Pritchard 27' c
Johnson 30' c
Vatuvei 58' m
Goal: Johnson (4/8) 17, 28', 31', 51'
Report[36] Try: Hurst 67' m
Goal: Brough (0/1)
Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
Attendance: 16,207
Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)
Man of the Match: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand)

16 November 2013
Australia  62–0  United States
Try: Hayne (4) 3' m, 57' c, 70' c, 79' c
Inglis (2) 11' c, 50' c
Morris (4) 21' m, 26' m, 35' m, 39' m
Smith 23' c
Cronk 28' c
Goal: Thurston (7/12) 12', 23', 28', 50', 57', 70', 79'
The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Attendance: 5,762
Referee: Henry Perenara (New Zealand)
Man of the Match: Brett Morris

16 November 2013
England  34–6  France
Try: Charnley (2) 11' c, 25' m
Hall (2) 18' c, 28' c
O'Loughlin 47' c
Ferres 77' c
Goal: Sinfield (5/6) 11', 18', 28', 47', 77'
Report[38] Duport 5' c
Goal: Bosc (1/1) 5'
DW Stadium, Wigan
Attendance: 22,276
Referee: Ashley Klein (Australia)
Man of the Match: Sam Tomkins

17 November 2013
Samoa  4–22  Fiji
Try: Winterstein 58' m Report[39] Try: Groom 5' c
W. Naiqama 32' c
Roqica 78' c
Goal: W. Naiqama (5/5) 5', 8', 32', 71', 78'
Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
Attendance: 12,766
Referee: Richard Silverwood (England)
Man of the Match: Aaron Groom


23 November 2013
New Zealand  20–18  England
Try: Tuivasa-Sheck (2) 31' c, 44' m
Johnson 80' c
Goal: Johnson (4/5) 33', 38', 53' 80'
Report[40] Try: O'Loughlin 16' c
Watkins 58' m
S. Burgess 67' c
Goal: Sinfield (3/4) 17', 25', 68'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 67,545
Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)
Man of the Match: Sam Burgess

23 November 2013
Australia  64–0  Fiji
Try: Thurston 9' c
Darius Boyd (2) 15' m, 59' c
Cronk 19' c
Hayne (3) 22' c, 37' c, 68' c
Papalii 35'c
Tamou 53' c
Morris 72' c
Fifita 79' c
Goal: Thurston (10/11) 10', 20', 23', 36', 39', 55', 60', 69', 73', 80'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 67,545
Referee: Richard Silverwood (England)
Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston


30 November 2013
New Zealand  2–34  Australia

Shaun Johnson (1/1) 16'
Report[42] Tries:
Billy Slater (2) 19' c, 41' c
Cooper Cronk 30' c
Brett Morris (2) 52' c, 72' c
Johnathan Thurston (7/7) 4', 19', 30', 35', 41', 52', 72'
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 74,468[43]
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Man of the Match: Johnathan Thurston
New Zealand
FB1 Kevin Locke
RW2 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
LC3 Dean Whare
RC4 Bryson Goodwin
LW5 Manu Vatuvei
SO6 Kieran Foran
SH7 Shaun Johnson
PR8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
HK9 Isaac Luke
PR10 Jesse Bromwich
SR11 Simon Mannering (c)
SR12 Sonny Bill Williams
LF13 Elijah Taylor
IC14 Frank-Paul Nu'uausala
IC15 Sam Kasiano
IC16 Ben Matulino
IC17 Alex Glenn
Stephen Kearney
FB1 Billy Slater
RW2 Brett Morris
RC3 Greg Inglis
LC4 Jarryd Hayne
LW5 Darius Boyd
SO6 Johnathan Thurston
SH7 Cooper Cronk
PR8 Matt Scott
HK9 Cameron Smith (c)
PR10 James Tamou
SR11 Greg Bird
SR12 Sam Thaiday
LF13 Paul Gallen
IC14 Daly Cherry-Evans
IC15 Josh Papalii
IC16 Andrew Fifita
IC17 Corey Parker
Tim Sheens

Touch Judges:

Video Referee:

1st half

After Australia kicked off,[44] a New Zealand error in the first set of the game led to an early opportunity and field position for Australia, and the penalty was kicked by Johnathan Thurston to open the scoring to 2–0. The Kiwis suffered an early blow when after just one touch of the ball, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a recurrence of an ankle injury that forced him from the field after just 8 minutes with second rower Alex Glenn his replacement, forcing a re-shuffle with Simon Mannering moving to the centres and Dean Whare to the wing. Australia weren't without their problems though as soon after Jarryd Hayne went down with an apparent concussion after colliding with the hip of Simon Mannering while tackling the Kiwi captain, though the Kangaroos centre would remain on the field. Further play from the Kiwis brought them into the Australian half of the field, and a holding penalty then given by the Australians was kicked by Shaun Johnson to level the score to 2–2 at the 16 minute mark. Despite Old Trafford having an in-goal area of just 4.1m, Australia were able to force a line drop-out.[45] From this, Thurston was able to kick to Billy Slater, setting up the first four-pointer which Thurston also converted to make the score 8–2. A try attempt by Cooper Cronk was controversially [46] disallowed by the video referee, who ruled Isaac Luke had been able to stop the ball coming into contact with the in-goal grass while also giving New Zealand a penalty against Andrew Fifita for 'driving' Luke. Cronk didn't have to wait long to score though, as a few minutes later Darius Boyd got around Whare and raced down the wing before putting in a miss-kicked grubber which Cronk managed to find to go over and score despite a desperate Kevin Locke tackle. Thurston kicked his 3rd goal from 3 attempts to take the score out to 14–2. Thurston's conversion of Cronk's try saw him overtake Michael Cronin as Australia's highest point scorer in test match football. Manu Vatuvei's attacking run for New Zealand saw him pushed over the sideline 5 metres out by 5 desperate Australian defenders, and an offside penalty at the 35 minute mark gave Thurston another kick to bring the score out to 16–2 at halftime.[47]

2nd half

Billy Slater opened the scoring on the first set of the second half, thanks to break by captain Cameron Smith who passed outside to Thurston who found Darius Boyd who raced down the sideline and found Slater in support as Kiwi fullback Kevin Locke loomed in defence. This gave Thurston another chance to convert and bring the score to 22–2. A charge-down by Ben Matulino and regather from Sonny Bill Williams led to New Zealand beginning attack at halfway. More potential attack from the Kiwis was defused easily by the Australians, until a New Zealand grubber gave possession back to the Australians. A flick offload from Josh Papalii led to a chip kick from Brett Morris, regathered and then re-kicked by Jarryd Hayne led to a sliding Morris try. A conversion by Thurston brought the score out to 28–2. Both teams were having issues with the geography of the ground, as Morris collided with the signage during his try and a flying Manu Vatuvei landed awkwardly on the concrete surrounding the field. Australia's control of the game led to the New Zealanders forced into defense of their own line, defusing Australia's attack but not managing any successful attack of their own. A near 100 metre try by Morris, thanks to a 70-metre intercept run by Hayne, and conversion by Thurston made the score 34–2 with eight minutes to go.[48]

Australian scrum half back Johnathan Thurston was named the final's man-of-the-match, his fourth such award of the tournament.[49] His conversion of Cronk's first half try also broke Mick Cronin's 31-year-old record of 309 Test points for the Kangaroos.[50][51] The 32-point margin set a new record for heaviest victory in a final, eclipsing Australia’s 40–12 victory over the Kiwis in the same stadium in 2000.[52][53]

Try scorers



Seven grounds achieved sell-out crowds, with four setting stadium records. Games held in both Wales and Ireland were watched by the biggest crowds ever for rugby league internationals in those countries.[54] The final was played in front of the largest crowd ever to attend an international rugby league fixture.[55]

Date Teams Venue Location Attendance
26 October 2013 Australia EnglandMillennium StadiumCardiff45,052
26 October 2013 Wales ItalyMillennium StadiumCardiff45,052
27 October 2013 Papua New Guinea FranceCraven ParkHull7,481
27 October 2013 New Zealand SamoaHalliwell Jones StadiumWarrington14,965
28 October 2013 Fiji IrelandSpotlandRochdale8,872
29 October 2013 Tonga ScotlandDerwent ParkWorkington7,630
30 October 2013 United States Cook IslandsMemorial StadiumBristol7,247
1 November 2013 New Zealand FranceParc des SportsAvignon17,158
2 November 2013 England IrelandJohn Smith's StadiumHuddersfield24,375
2 November 2013 Australia FijiLangtree ParkSt. Helens14,137
3 November 2013 Wales United StatesRacecourse GroundWrexham8,019
3 November 2013 Scotland ItalyDerwent ParkWorkington7,280[56]
4 November 2013 Papua New Guinea SamoaCraven ParkHull6,871
5 November 2013 Tonga Cook IslandsLeigh Sports VillageLeigh10,554
7 November 2013 Scotland United StatesAJ Bell StadiumEccles6,041
8 November 2013 New Zealand Papua New GuineaHeadingleyLeeds18,180
9 November 2013 England FijiKC StadiumHull25,114
9 November 2013 Australia IrelandThomond ParkLimerick5,021
10 November 2013 Wales Cook IslandsThe GnollNeath3,720
10 November 2013 Tonga ItalyThe ShayHalifax10,226
11 November 2013 France SamoaStade Gilbert BrutusPerpignan11,576
15 November 2013 New Zealand ScotlandHeadingleyLeeds16,207
16 November 2013 Australia United StatesRacecourse GroundWrexham5,762
16 November 2013 England FranceDW StadiumWigan22,276
17 November 2013 Samoa FijiHalliwell Jones StadiumWarrington12,776
23 November 2013 New Zealand EnglandWembleyLondon67,545
23 November 2013 Australia FijiWembleyLondon67,545
30 November 2013 Australia New ZealandOld TraffordManchester74,468


Country Channel televising all matches
 Australia 7mate[57]
 France beIN Sport[58]
 Ireland Setanta Sports 1[59]
North Africa and the Middle East OSN[60]
 New Zealand Sky Sport[61]
 Papua New Guinea EM TV[62]
 United Kingdom Premier Sports*

* The BBC and Premier Sports jointly televised seven live matches with the remaining twenty one live matches exclusive to Premier Sports. The jointly live matches were England’s Group A matches (BBC One), an inter-group match between Wales and Italy and a quarter final (both on BBC Two), a semi final and the final (both on BBC One). The jointly televised quarter final and semi final involved England. England’s first Group A match against Australia was not televised in Cambridgeshire and the South East while England’s second Group A match against Ireland was not televised in the East Midlands, Wales, West and the West Midlands while England’s final Group A match against Fiji was not televised in Scotland and Scotland HD.


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