Kicking off on Saturday October 26, when the cream of Australian rugby league confronts the might of England in the tournament opener at Millennium Stadium at Cardiff, Seven will broadcast RLWC 2013 live and exclusive on 7mate.
Hosted by Seven News sports presenter Ryan Phelan with guest experts Matt King, Nathan Fien and Nigel Vagana, Seven’s coverage will include all 28 games over 22 days as the best rugby league teams on the planet compete in England and Wales.
A former Australian international and NSW Origin star who retired from South Sydney this year, Matt King will be in studio alongside host Ryan Phelan for all Kangaroos’ matches. Kiwi international Nathan Fien will cover New Zealand fixtures, while Vagana, an NRL star and former Samoa and New Zealand representative, will provide expert commentary for games involving Pacific Island nations.
Coverage of the first Group A match between Australia and England begins at midnight on Saturday October 26 (12am AEDT Sunday October 27). The tournament culminates with the World Cup Final from Old Trafford at 1am AEDT on Sunday December 1.
There will be a half-hour pre-game show before each match, with every Australian game, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final also replayed on 7mate on Sunday afternoons.
Seven’s Head of Sport, Saul Shtein, said: "We're delighted to be broadcasting rugby league at such a significant global event when the best players in the world get a chance to represent their country. It only serves to underline Seven's commitment to covering the best sports, live and free.”
The Chairman of the Rugby League International Federation, Scott Carter, said: “With the quality of players across the 14 nations, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup is set to be a fantastic tournament, watched by millions of people around the world. The Australian public are looking forward to watching the television broadcast in Australia through the Seven Network and we welcome Seven to International Rugby League,” Mr Carter said.
This is the 14th staging of RLWC 2013 – to be hosted by England and Wales with matches also held in France and Ireland. New Zealand is the defending champion, having defeated Australia in the 2008 World Cup final. Italy and the US will take part in the tournament for the first time.
The NRL’s Head of football, Todd Greenberg, said: “Fifty years since the Kangaroos first won an ashes series in the UK, Tim Sheens and the team are determined to win back the World Cup from the Kiwis.”
“Seven has made a major commitment to keeping fans in touch with all the action and there will certainly be plenty of highlights over the course of the event,” he said.