Strategically located, well-equipped stadiums are clearly going to be important to Rugby League as it takes its brand beyond its traditional territory. Stadiums with pitches that can support multi-sport and with appropriate capacities, are getting the business. Anfield, complete with new grandstand,will host the Four Nations final on Sunday 20 November. Ricoh Arena (32,609) in Coventry will host its first-ever international Rugby League event since opening in 2005.
England will return to the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to play current World Champions Australia in London for the first time since 2013 on home soil in the penultimate game of the competition on Sunday 13 November.
Four Nations Tournament Director, Jon Dutton, said:
We are delighted with the venues selected for the 2016 Four Nations and we are sure that the tournament will deliver compelling and memorable action on the field. Anfield is an iconic sporting venue and I am certain that all teams will be determined to reach the final to play in front of what will be a very special atmosphere.
England Captain, Sean O’Loughlin, said:
Playing at iconic venues such as the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Anfield are one of the reasons we play the game. Walking out in front of 45,000 fans in London last year was one of the highlights of 2015 for me and I am sure that playing in front of big home crowds will push the team on to what will hopefully be a successful campaign.
Anfield last hosted a Rugby League game 19 years ago when St Helens moved their Super League fixture against Castleford to the Premier League ground. Wigan’s World Club Challenge game against Penrith Panthers in 1991 also took place at the Merseyside venue.
England’s opening game of the competition will be against familiar opposition as they look to carry on the success of last year’s International Series when they take on the world’s number one side New Zealand at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday October 29.
England captain Sean O’Loughlin at Anfield and Kallum Watkins at Olympic Park. Photos: SWpix.