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England and New Zealand to make history at London’s Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium in London will host international Rugby League for the first time in November 2015 when England face New Zealand in the second game of a three-match series.

The 54,000-capacity all-seater stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is one of three venues named today for a series that will mark England’s first appearance on home soil since their thrilling encounter with New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

The series opens with the first match at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday November 1 in an international that will form part of the 150-year celebrations of host club Hull FC, who were founded in 1865.

The historic fixture at the Olympic Stadium takes place on Saturday November 7 before the series concludes with the third international at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Saturday November 14.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The Olympic Stadium provided the backdrop to some truly most memorable action at London 2012 and it is simply fantastic that we have reached an agreement for England to play New Zealand there in November.
“The world’s best Rugby League players deserve to play on the biggest stages and our supporters deserve the opportunity watch rugby league in the best venues.

“The Kiwis are our oldest rivals on the international stage and the match at Olympic Stadium will provide one of the highlights of a historic year for the sport as we celebrate our 120-year anniversary in 2015.

“Two years have elapsed since we last hosted New Zealand and I am sure that everyone who witnessed that memorable semi-final at Wembley Stadium will be looking forward to experiencing a re-match at Olympic Stadium.

“Hull and Wigan have long and proud traditions as international Rugby League venues and the matches at KC Stadium and DW Stadium will be terrific occasions played out in front of bumper crowds.”

England coach Steve McNamara said: “The schedule for the Kiwi series is very exciting and it is fantastic that we have this opportunity to play an historic international at an iconic venue like the Olympic Stadium.

“Playing New Zealand always brings out the best in the England players and the chance to be involved in the match at Olympic Stadium will provide additional incentive for everyone.

“Coming from Hull, I’m also looking forward to the opening match at the KC Stadium, where the atmosphere is guaranteed to be electric, whilst we are assured of a rousing reception at Wigan in front of some of the most passionate fans in the world.”

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney, who visited the Olympic Stadium last week, said: “I’m really excited that my players have the chance to play in the inaugural Rugby League game at such an outstanding venue.

“If we can fill it full of English fans and get it full of noise, it will be a wonderful occasion.

“In our last two performances against England, there has been nothing between the two sides and I imagine this series will be no different.

“The fans should be excited about the England team, the way they have played against us and Australia recently, they have been great contests and I think they were unlucky to lose in Melbourne. The fans should be proud of their team, hopefully they will fill the Olympic Stadium and make it a great occasion.”

Phil Jackson Chief Executive Officer of London Stadium 185, the subsidiary of VINCI Stadium who operate and maintain the Stadium said: “We are delighted to welcome Rugby League to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

This major event is a part of a comprehensive programme for the first operating summer. This Rugby League event showcases the multifunctional role of the stadium and helps to continue the lasting sports legacy at the venue.”

Tickets for all three matches will go on general sale from 9.00am on Wednesday March 11.