3 Dec 2013
Crowd records tumble at RLWC2013
Though Saturday's record-breaking attendance at Old Trafford grabbed the headlines as the biggest international Rugby League crowd of all time, it tells only part of the story of Rugby League World Cup 2013's success at the turnstile.
45,052 fans packed into the Millennium Stadium on October 26 to be a part of the biggest ever crowd for the opening weekend of a Rugby League World Cup.
Records continued to tumble in the days that followed, as the game between New Zealand and Samoa at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington was declared a sell-out for the first time for an international match, and a stadium record was set at Spotland 24 hours later, as a sell-out crowd of more than 10,000 watched Fiji overcome Ireland.
The biggest crowds in Cumbria since before the turn of the century witnessed Scotland’s two RLWC2013 matches at Derwent Park in Workington, and the biggest ever Rugby League crowd for a match in Bristol saw USA shock the world against Cook Islands.
Another sell-out crowd filled Parc des Sports in Avignon for France’s defeat to New Zealand, and a stadium record was toppled in Huddersfield, where England were comfortable winners over Ireland in front of a packed house.
Yet more history was made in Leigh as a new attendance record of more than 10,000 was set for the match between Tonga and Cook Islands, and later that week another sell-out crowd inside the KC Stadium saw England qualify for the Quarter-Finals with victory over Fiji.
The biggest ever crowd for a Rugby League match in Ireland saw the Kangaroos demonstrate their star quality, as more than 5,000 saw Mark Aston’s men toppled by the tournament favourites.
There was a further sell-out crowd on the penultimate day of the group stage, as The Shay in Halifax hosted the titanic clash between Tonga and Italy, where a place in the last eight just eluded the Azzurri.
And the curtain fell on the first phase of matches in fitting style, as a stadium record was broken in Perpignan for the match between France and Samoa at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
The trend continued into the knock-out stages as big crowds at Wigan, Warrington and Leeds saw four teams advance to The Big Hit, and a new record for the biggest aggregate crowd for a Quarter-Final round at a Rugby League World Cup was set.
And it was a similar story at The Big Hit double header of RLWC2013 Semi-Finals, as more than 67,000 packed out one of the world’s most famous stadiums to create an incredible record-breaking atmosphere.
But perhaps the biggest record fell on Saturday, when 74,468 packed into the Theatre of Dreams for the RLWC2013 Final, to be a part of international Rugby League's biggest ever crowd.