Hornets draw on Fijian ties for 2013 bid

As one World Cup is snatched away, the bidding has started to stage fixtures in another.

Rochdale Hornets want to host the group match between Fiji and Ireland in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, building on the unlikely but durable links between the town and the Pacific islands.

A number of Fijian players came to play for Rochdale in the 1960s. Even those who played for other clubs tended to live there among familiar faces and there is still an identifiable Fijian population in the town. "Given the historic links between Hornets and Fijian rugby league players, it seems to us a natural fit that we should host a game featuring the South Sea islanders," said a spokesman for the club.

"We have a stadium worthy of hosting a World Cup clash and there is a sizeable Fijian community in and around Rochdale, as there is an Irish community."

Fiji beat Ireland in a quarter-final on the Gold Coast in the last World Cup in 2008. Their rematch in 2013 is almost certain to determine which of them goes through to the quarter-finals, along with Australia and England, who are in the same group.

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