By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 2/12/13
Kangaroos Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston have thrown their support behind the World Cup and branded the 2013 tournament a success.
Thurston, who played in this one and the 2008 edition, believes it’s probably the best World Cup he has been involved in.
“I think they’ve got every venue right with the stadiums that we’ve played at,” he said.
“To play Fiji at St Helens, it was freezing but there was still a lot of people there. The game in Limerick, trying to grow the game in Ireland was a great move and that’s what it’s about. It’s the World Cup and that’s what we need to do to grow the game around the world.”
According to Australian captain Smith, the prestige has grown around international rugby league.
“I’m lucky I’ve been involved in two World Cups and several Four Nations tournaments, and every tournament I’ve been involved in has been a huge Test,” he said.
“A lot of people turn out to the games. That’s why I thank all the people who came out throughout this World Cup. It’s just so big and I think every nation that’s been involved in this World Cup have done their job to grow the game, particularly over here in the northern hemisphere. I’ve mentioned before we played the USA in the quarter-final, that’s only going to do good things for rugby league in the USA. I think the international game’s in pretty good shape. The performances from those growing nations over the past five weeks, they’re getting better every year.”
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said he couldn’t fault the hosting of the 2013 World Cup by England.
‘I think it’s been a real credit to the English game the way they’ve organised it, the type of football that’s been played, the crowds that have turned up,” he said.
“Every game that we’ve had it’s been pretty much full.”