Watch Rugby League's World CupPosted on: 02 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Why watch it at home when you can be there in person?
The 2008 Rugby League World Cup is taking place Down Under in Australia and home nations such as England, Ireland and Scotland will all be hoping to be in Brisbane when the final comes around on the 22nd November.
This year's competition will get underway on the 25th October and will feature the best 10 teams from across the globe in 12 different venues across four Australian states.
England will take on Papua New Guinea in the tournament’s curtain-raiser in Townsville although the official opening ceremony of the competition will occur ahead of the Australia and New Zealand match the following day in Sydney.
Rugby League’s showcase event is due to get underway in less than three weeks but you could still be there to support your country whether it be Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland or Tonga. Even if you’re desperate to get to a game as a die-hard Rugby League fan or in Australia at the time and fancy dropping into a match, it’s possible to get inside the stadium and enjoy one of rugby’s finest tournaments.
How To Get There
The first thing to remember when searching for flights to Australia is a rather obvious point that you literally are flying halfway round the world to get there.
That’s a reminder that truly cheap flights to Australia really are very difficult to come by - the fuel costs alone of the 10,500 mile journey to Sydney, together with the requirement too for at least one stopover, make these flights very expensive for airlines to operate.
The other key point associated with this is that you can expect to spend the best part of a day in the confined space of an aircraft seat, so you might as well try make your journey as comfortable as possible.
With this in mind, we would suggest ignoring any adverts for cheap Australia flights which display prices of below £500 - these will either be for one-way flights, or the price will exclude taxes and charges, which tend to get pretty steep, considering the number of airports you might have to pass through on the way.
Generally, the cheapest prices on flights to Australia are to Sydney, but flights to Melbourne can be equally competitive. In terms of distance, Perth is 1,500 miles closer to London than Sydney, and this saving on fuel can sometimes result in cheaper prices to Australia's western gateway. Alternatively, Royal Brunei Airlines often provide cheap deals to Darwin via their hub in Bandar Seri Begawan.
Other cities with one stop flight connections from the UK include Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide.
Although it is not possible to operate non-stop flights to Australia from the UK, through-flight bookings with British Airways, Virgin and Qantas should avoid the need for a change of aircraft, although you will still expect to have to get off, and quite possibly change seats, at the stopover airport. On a journey this distance, any stopover will be a very welcome break.
Many Asian airlines aim to offer seamless connections on flights to Australia, although the amount of time you can expect to hang around in the airport will vary considerably between one airline and the next.
To many people this isn't such a bad thing, because almost all the airports you are likely to pass through offer ultra-modern facilities with a very high standard of shopping and other amenities.
Some transfer airports, most notably Changi in Singapore, also offer travellers the opportunity to get a few hours' sleep in a proper bed without having to leave the terminal, whereas Dubai is perhaps best known for having some of the best duty free shops in the world.
Depending on how much time you have between flights, you might also get the opportunity to do a quick sightseeing tour. Many travellers go one step further, and use the stopover for a quick city break.
For the reasons mentioned above, the prices of flights to Australia are nothing like as keen as they were a few years ago, but if you think in terms of the cost per mile travelled, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that a trip to Australia offers, you're still getting excellent value.
You are getting quite a good deal if you are spending less than £800, and still using one of the top ranking airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates or Qantas. Note that both Qantas and Virgin will offer flight packages which include a number of free domestic flights within Australia.
The huge size of Australia, combined with the long distances between the major cities, make flying the best way of getting around Australia, although many travellers will opt to go by road or rail between Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.
Australia offers some great train journeys into the interior for those with plenty of time to spare. Popular airlines for domestic Australia flights include Qantas, and their low-cost subsidiaryJetstar, as well as Virgin Blue.
Note that most cities in Australia are served by just one major airport, although some Jetstar Melbourne flights operate from Melbourne's low-cost airport at Avalon (AVV). Gold Coast airport (OOL) is also a possible alternative from Brisbane.
Despite being about as far away from the UK as its possible to get, Australia feels like a close neighbour. The Aussies combine the can-do attitude of America with the aggression and humour of the ‘Mother Land’ – a winning combination that has seen Antipodean actors storm Hollywood, pop stars top the charts and their sports teams rule the world.
This gargantuan continent-cum-country offers a rich blend of cosmopolitan cities, ancient Aboriginal culture, unique landscapes, and thousands of miles of unspoilt coast - including the stunning Great Barrier Reef.
The first stop on most trips Down Under is Sydney, Australia’s largest and most exciting city, and home to two of the most recognisable structures in the world – the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
The majority of Australia’s major cities hug the vast coastline – from fast growing Perth in the west, Victorian Adelaide and refined Melbourne in the south to booming Brisbane on the eastern seaboard and Darwin on the northern tip.
If the forward thinking cities epitomise the new Australia, you don’t have to travel far inland to witness scenery that has remained virtually untouched for millions of years, including two of nature’s most arresting creations - Ayer’s Rock and the equally striking Olgas.
Following Your Country
Tony Smith’s side have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Australia, Papa New Guinea and New Zealand. England kick off their campaign in the tournament opener against Guinea in Townsville before trips to Melbourne’s magnificent Telstra Dome against champions Australia and a final clash with the Kiwis in Newcastle.
As ludicrous as it sounds, the top three finishing countries in Group A qualify to the semi-finals automatically for a match in Brisbane or Sydney (depending on their positional finish).
The Irish Wolfhounds have been handed a tough draw in Group C where they’ll battle out against the bruisers of Tonga and Samoa. They open their World Cup campaign in Sydney against Tonga before taking on Samoa in the same stadium.
The group winners will then go head-to-head with winners of Group B to decide who’ll play against the third placed team in Group A in the semi-final clash in Sydney.
The Scottish Bravehearts line up in Group B alongside France and Fiji. Scotland will take on France in Canberra for their opening match before challenging Fiji in Gosport.
The group winners will then go head-to-head with winners of Group C to decide who’ll play against the third placed team in Group A in the semi-final clash in Sydney.
Prices for tickets to all the matches taking place at the Rugby League World Cup are very reasonably priced. The lowest adult ticket prices for pool fixtures starts at 15 Australian Dollars (£6.70) whilst the most expensive adult prices for the Final start at 135 Australian Dollars (£60).
Tickets for all matches taking place within New South Wales and Queensland (with the exception of Browne Park in Rockhampton), can be purchased online through Ticketek at www.premier.ticketek.com.au.
Match tickets to the eagerly anticipated battle between Australia and England at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne can be purchased through Ticketmaster’s Australian branch online at www.ticketmaster.com.au.
Tickets for the playoff match to be held at Browne Park in Rockhampton on the 8th November can be purchased through Rockhampton Venues and Events online at www.venuesandevents.com.au.
Are you going to the Rugby League World Cup in Australia? Who will win the World Cup?
If so, let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.
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