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.