RFL Chairman Richard Lewis is predicting that the 2011 Gillette Four Nations will be the most keenly contested international Rugby League tournament of recent years as England, Wales, New Zealand and Australia prepare to go head to head over the next four weeks.
The Gillette Four Nations kicks off on Friday (October 28) when world champions New Zealand play Australia at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, at 8.00pm before moving on to Leigh Sports Village on Saturday for a keenly anticipated clash between England and Wales.
All four teams do battle at Wembley in a thrilling double header on Saturday November 5, when Wales face New Zealand (1.00) and England take on Australia (3.30) and a week later England meet New Zealand at the KC Stadium, Hull, (Saturday November 12, 6.00) and Wales play Australia at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground (5.45).
The top teams in the tournament with then meet in the final at Elland Road, Leeds, on Saturday November 19 (6.00).
“I think we can expect to see some of the most memorable Rugby League action we have ever seen,” said Lewis. “Rarely can every nation have gone into a tournament with the levels of motivation that is imbuing all four squads in the Gillette Four Nations.
“New Zealand, as defending champions, know they have to lift their game after losing to Australia last week whilst the Kangaroos have a point to prove having fallen to the Kiwis in last year’s final.
“England have continued to grown in stature over recent years and there is a genuine feeling among Steve McNamara’s squad that they are ready to deliver whilst Wales, as tournament underdogs, will be looking to maintain their proud tradition of defying the odds to build on their achievement of winning the 2010 European Cup.
“Whenever the most athletic and skilful players in world rugby get together we always see competition of the highest calibre and given the talent within all four squads it all points to the 2011 Gillette Four Nations being the best ever.”
This year’s tournament sees Gillette extend their association with Rugby League into an eighth year to become the sport’s longest running sponsors.
“We are delighted to once again be title sponsors of the Gillette Four Nations,” said Gillette’s brand manager Jared Regan.
“This exciting tournament has grown over the years to become one of the sporting calendar’s premier events.
“This year’s tournament will have the added profile of a double header at Wembley, and we applaud the decision to take two of the fixtures to the best sporting arena in the world.
“Gillette have committed considerable resource to this year’s tournament, and we’re sure Rugby League fans old and new will join us in looking forward to an autumn of thrilling games played out at packed stadia.”
Tickets for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations can be purchased by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk