Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

New Zealand to host seven games for Rugby League World Cup 2017

Kiwis prop Adam Blair chases Johnathan Thurston. Photo / Getty Images
Kiwis prop Adam Blair chases Johnathan Thurston. Photo / Getty Images

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup will see seven matches hosted in New Zealand.

This country has missed out on the final - which will be staged across the Tasman, just like in 2008 - but fans in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton will be able to soak up action from tournament.

It was confirmed at the official tournament draw today that the Kiwis will be joined by Samoa, Tonga and Scotland in pool action, with matches to be played across the North and South islands.

All three Kiwis pool matches will be played at home along with two quarter finals and a semi-final, which will be played at Mt Smart.

The Penrose venue will host two matches, with Eden Park being overlooked for Auckland games.

New Zealand's opening match is at Mt Smart, against Samoa on Saturday 28 October 2017.

Christchurch will host the Kiwis' pool match as well as a quarter final. The Kiwis will play their Quarter-Final in Wellington should they progress.

Tonga will play two matches in Hamilton - first a pacific clash against Samoa then a match versus the Kiwis to round out pool action.

RLWC2017 Chief Executive Officer, Michael Brown, said the support of the New Zealand Government and host cities has ensured that league fans from across the country will see the world's best teams battle it out for the Paul Barrière Trophy.

"New Zealanders have a very proud history of supporting Rugby League and we know these passionate league communities will embrace co-hosting the sport's pinnacle event in."

"In planning this tournament, we made a deliberate decision to take the Rugby League World Cup to more fans than any World Cup has done before. With the support of the New Zealand government and host cities, we will give fans across both Islands the opportunity to attend a World Cup and experience what will be a festival of league.

The RLWC2017 will see 14 teams play 28 games over five weeks from 27 October until 2 December 2017. In addition to matches in New Zealand and Australia, there will be three pool matches played in Papua New Guinea.

With 11 teams already confirmed, the final three teams will come from the European Qualifying Tournament to be played in October and November this year. Teams who are still in the race include Wales, Ireland, Russia, Serbia, Italy and Spain.

RLWC 2017 games scheduled in New Zealand
28/10/2017 - Pool - Round 1 - New Zealand v Samoa, Mt Smart, Auckland
4/11/2017 - Pool - Round 2 - New Zealand v Scotland, Christchurch Stadium
4/11/2017 - Pool - Round 2 - Tonga vs Samoa, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
11/11/2017 - Pool - Round 3 - New Zealand vs Tonga, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
18/11/2017 - Quarter Final - Christchurch Stadium
18/11/2017 - Quarter Final - Wellington Regional Stadium
25/11/2017 - Semi Final - Mt Smart, Auckland

- NZ Herald

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