Rowley Hails Welsh Rugby

Wales have been granted automatic qualification for the 2013 World Cup, which will be hosted by the Rugby Football League in the United Kingdom.

“I’m very pleased with the outcome,” said Wales league boss Mark Rowley.

“This is momentous,” said Wales Rugby League executive chairman Rowley after receiving the news at the RLIF two-day meeting in Melbourne. “We achieved autonomous status in 2006 which was our first major step up the international rugby league ladder.

“It’s more exciting than ever to be part of rugby league in Wales right now. We have two professional sides for the first time in almost 100 years in Crusaders and South Wales Scorpions, with the Scorpions fielding 99% Welsh-born players.

“Our Conference season in the south kicks off this Sunday in Nelson with a Nines tournament and 13 teams will be taking to the field this season. We are soon launching a local league in north Wales for the very first time, while we now have over 150 school teams in Wales.

“Internationally, we are European champions in rugby league at both senior level and under-18 level. We are the Home Nations champions at A international and student level, while our students reached the semi-finals of their last World Cup.

“We are now heading towards the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in full confidence, but our next aim is to qualify for the 2011 Four Nations and we take on Ireland, Scotland and France for that right this autumn.”

Wales get Automatic Place

Wales have been granted automatic qualification for the 2013 World Cup, which will be hosted by the Rugby Football League in the United Kingdom.

The Welsh, who reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1995 and 2000, were notable absentees from the last tournament in Australia two years ago after losing to Scotland in the qualifying tournament.

But they will be one of 12 teams granted automatic entry after becoming full members of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) at their meeting in Melbourne.

The RLIF announced in February that the competition would be expanded from 10 teams to 14, with two of them to come from qualifying tournaments which are likely to be the Pacific Cup and the European Cup.

The other automatic place is likely to go to either Cook Islands, who lost in the final of the 2009 Pacific Cup to Papua New Guinea, or Lebanon, who narrowly missed out on qualification for 2008.

Wales will join the 10 teams who took part last time – holders New Zealand, Australia, England, Papua New Guinea, France, Ireland, Scotland, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga – and will almost certainly host matches in 2013.