Cardiff to open World Cup

Cardiff to open World Cup

Eurosport

Co-hosts Wales will get the 14-team tournament under way on Saturday, October 26, with a cross-group match against qualifiers Italy, followed by England's group A clash with favourites Australia.

Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Government's First Minister, attended a press conference along with tournament chairman Richard Lewis at the Millennium Stadium where organisers unveiled 19 of the venues across England, Wales, Ireland and France for all but three of the 28 matches.

In a late change of plan, the organisers decided not to announce the venues for the closing stages but Wembley is thought to be favourite to host both semi-finals with the November 30 final set to go to Old Trafford, which was the venue for the last final to be held in England in 2000.

The full list of dates and kick-offs will be confirmed when the broadcast schedule is finalised.

England's other group games against Ireland and Fiji will be at Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium and Hull's KC Stadium respectively, while Wales will play the United States in Wrexham and Cook Islands in Neath.

Scotland's group C games against Tonga and Italy will be played at the planned new stadium at Pow Beck in Whitehaven while Ireland's attractive fixture with Australia is being taken to the rugby union stronghold of Thomond Park, home of Munster in Limerick.

Holders New Zealand will play group B games in Warrington and Leeds as well as one of two fixtures in France.

If the group fixtures go to form, Australia will meet Wales in the quarter-finals in Wrexham, with England taking on the third-placed team from group B at Wigan's DW Stadium.

Headingley and Warrington's enlarged Halliwell Jones Stadium are the other quarter-final venues.

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