Whelan held out for Cup quarter

Dave Whelan
Dave Whelan

WIGAN bosses have welcomed the decision to stage a World Cup match at the DW Stadium.

The venue will host one of the quarter-finals of the 14-team tournament in autumn 2013 – after the organisers’ original offer of a group stage game was turned down.

Stadium owner Dave Whelan revealed: “We had a meeting with the organisers about Wigan being a venue and felt it was important that Wigan got a good match.

“We were initially offered the England-Ireland game but we said that that wasn’t acceptable for the Wigan fans so they came up with a quarter final that will involve England or Australia instead. It is good news for the town and Wigan Warriors.”

The Evening Post revealed yesterday that the DW had been chosen as one of 18 venues across four countries which will host games.

Warriors coach Shaun Wane said: “It’s great news for Wigan.

“It’s nice that it’s been recognised that we have a terrific venue and Wigan is synonymous with rugby league around the world. It’s only fitting that we get a prestigious game like a quarter-final.”

Leeds’ Headingley, Warrington and Wrexham will also stage quarter-final games.

Venues for the semis, final and opening game will be made in the new year with Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, Wembley and Old Trafford all in the frame.

Chairman Ian Lenagan said: “I think it’s great news that Wigan has got a World Cup game, I’m very pleased.

“As I understand the format, it’s quite likely the DW Stadium will host either England or Australia in the quarter-final, which will make it extra special.

“When the applications were made I had a positive chat with Dave Whelan, who wanted a World Cup game at the DW, and Wigan Council. It was good to work well together on this and it’s great that we’ve been given one of the games.”

Avignon and Perpignan in France and Ireland’s Thomond Park, the rugby union stronghold of Munster, are among those that will stage games during the 14-team tournament.

Organisers are using the new grounds which St Helens and Salford will move into for the start of the 2012 Super League season.

Rugby league strongholds Whitehaven, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leigh, Hull – both the KC Stadium and Craven Park – will stage other group matches, while Bristol’s Memorial Ground is the surprise winner of a match.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue, chair of the all-party parliamentary rugby league group, said: “It is great news that the RFL recognises the importance of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup to the people of our borough.

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