|Number of teams||14|
|Host countries|| England|
|Attendance||458,483 (16,374 per match)|
|Top scorer||Shaun Johnson (76)|
|Top try scorer|| Brett Morris|
(9 tries each)
It was the main event of the year's Festival of World Cups. Fourteen teams contested the tournament: Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Wales, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Cook Islands, Italy and the United States. The latter two were competing in the Rugby League World Cup for the very first time.
New Zealand were the defending champions, having defeated Australia in 2008. Australia won the tournament, beating New Zealand 34-2 in the final to lift the Rugby League World Cup for the tenth time.
In terms of attendance, exposure and revenue, Rugby League World Cup 2013 is considered the most successful Rugby League World Cup to date.
The Rugby League International Federation confirmed this competition as a part of its international program. The RLIF announced a five-year plan to build up to the 2013 World Cup with Four Nations tournaments held in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The competition was part of the UK's "Golden Decade of Sport". 2013 was chosen as the year of the World Cup to avoid a clash with the London Olympics in 2012. After 2013, the Cup will be held on a quadrennial cycle.
In addition to the United Kingdom, Australia announced its intention to bid for the hosting rights, despite hosting the previous World Cup in 2008. The Australian Rugby League had been preparing a rival bid due to the success of the 2008 event but the business plan presented by the Rugby Football League for the UK to be the host was accepted by the RLIF at a meeting in July 2009. The event forms part of what is being dubbed a 'Golden Decade' in British Sport.
There were two qualifying pools for the remaining two World Cup places; a European and an Atlantic pool, with one side from each to qualify.
The European Qualifying group involved Italy, Lebanon, Russia and Serbia while the Atlantic Qualifying group involved Jamaica, South Africa and the USA. In the Atlantic Qualifiers the United States and Jamaica defeated South Africa in the opening rounds leaving the final match between the two to determine who qualified for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. United States defeated Jamaica to qualify for their first ever Rugby League World Cup.
The competition featured fourteen teams, compared to ten in 2008. Originally around twenty teams were to be involved in qualification, but subsequently the total number of teams involved in the tournament was fixed at nineteen. Twelve nations automatically qualified; the ten nations that contested the previous World Cup, Wales as winners of the 2009 European Nations Cup and the Cook Islands as runners up in the 2009 Pacific Cup.
|Australia (14th appearance)||The Kangaroos||Tim Sheens||Cameron Smith||1|
|Cook Islands (2nd appearance)||The Kukis||David Fairleigh||Zeb Taia||18|
|England (5th appearance)||The Wall of White||Steve McNamara||Kevin Sinfield||3|
|Fiji (4th appearance)||The Bati||Rick Stone||Petero Civoniceva||7|
|France (14th appearance)||Les Chanticleers||Richard Agar||Olivier Elima||4|
|Ireland (3rd appearance)||The Wolfhounds||Mark Aston||Liam Finn||9|
|Italy (1st appearance)||The Azzurri||Carlo Napolitano||Anthony Minichiello||13|
|New Zealand (14th appearance)||The Kiwis||Stephen Kearney||Simon Mannering||2|
|Papua New Guinea (6th appearance)||The Kumuls||Adrian Lam||Neville Costigan||6|
|Samoa (4th appearance)||Toa Samoa||Matt Parish||Harrison Hansen||8|
|Scotland (3rd appearance)||The Bravehearts||Steve McCormack||Danny Brough||11|
|Tonga (4th appearance)||Mate Ma'a Tonga||Charlie Tonga||Brent Kite||10|
|United States (1st appearance)||The Tomahawks||Terry Matterson||Joseph Paulo||12|
|Wales (4th appearance)||The Dragons||Iestyn Harris||Craig Kopczak||5|
Before the World Cup it was announced that USA would face France in Toulouse, Scotland would play Papua New Guinea at Featherstone, England would play Italy at Salford, New Zealand would play the Cook Islands in Doncaster and England Knights would play Samoa at Salford.
The games were played at various venues in England, Wales, Ireland, and France.
Matches were subject to a bidding process run by the Rugby Football League.
The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was the host stadium for the opening ceremony and a double header featuring hosts England playing Australia and Wales taking on Italy. The decision to play England vs Australia in Cardiff to open the tournament drew criticism from some in the press who believed that the game should have been played in England where a higher attendance could be expected, or at least a full house which would have looked better than the almost half empty Millennium Stadium.
|Millennium Stadium||Thomond Park||KC Stadium||John Smith's Stadium||Headingley||Langtree Park|
|Capacity: 74,500||Capacity: 26,500||Capacity: 25,586||Capacity: 24,500||Capacity: 21,062||Capacity: 18,000|
|Parc des Sports||Halliwell Jones Stadium||The Shay||Stade Gilbert Brutus||Memorial Stadium||Salford City Stadium|
|Capacity: 17,518||Capacity: 15,200||Capacity: 14,061||Capacity: 13,000||Capacity: 12,100||Capacity: 12,000|
|Leigh Sports Village||Racecourse Ground||Spotland||Craven Park||Derwent Park||The Gnoll|
|Capacity: 11,000||Capacity: 10,500||Capacity: 10,249||Capacity: 10,000||Capacity: 10,000||Capacity: 5,000|
Headingley in Leeds, the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham and the DW Stadium in Wigan hosted the quarter-finals. Both semi-finals were hosted at Wembley Stadium, with the final held at Old Trafford.
The match schedule was announced on 22 March 2012. The Rugby League International Federation announced the kickoff times of the matches, with the opening kickoff to be held on 26 October in Cardiff, at 14:30 local time. The group stage matches will be played at 14:00, 14:30, 16:00, 16:30, 18:00, and 20:00 local time, with knockout stage matches at 13:00, 15:00, and 20:00 local time. The semi-finals will be played at 13:00 and 15:30 local time and the final, on 30 November 2013 at the Old Trafford stadium, at 14:30 local time.
The draw, undertaken at the launch of the event in Manchester on 30 November 2010, involved four groups The first two groups are made up of four teams whilst the other two groups feature three teams each. There will be a quarter-final round made up of the first three teams in the first two groups and the winners of each of the smaller groups. Group play will involve a round robin in the larger groups, and a round robin in the smaller groups with an additional inter-group game for each team so all teams will play three group games.
|Key to colours in group tables|
|Advances to knockout stage|
|Papua New Guinea||3||0||0||3||5||22||103||-81||0|
Quarter-finals will follow the group stage, with three teams from each of Groups A and B and one team from each of Groups C and D qualifying.
15 November 2013
|Try: Goodwin (2) 8' m, 71' m
Bromwich 15' c
Tuivasa-Sheck (2) 20' m, 50' c
Pritchard 27' c
Johnson 30' c
Vatuvei 58' m
Goal: Johnson (4/8) 17, 28', 31', 51'
|Report||Try: Hurst 67' m|
Goal: Brough (0/1)
16 November 2013
|Try: Hayne (4) 3' m, 57' c, 70' c, 79' c
Inglis (2) 11' c, 50' c
Morris (4) 21' m, 26' m, 35' m, 39' m
Smith 23' c
Cronk 28' c
Goal: Thurston (7/12) 12', 23', 28', 50', 57', 70', 79'
16 November 2013
|Try: Charnley (2) 11' c, 25' m
Hall (2) 18' c, 28' c
O'Loughlin 47' c
Ferres 77' c
Goal: Sinfield (5/6) 11', 18', 28', 47', 77'
|Report||Duport 5' c|
Goal: Bosc (1/1) 5'
17 November 2013
|Try: Winterstein 58' m||Report||Try: Groom 5' c|
W. Naiqama 32' c
Roqica 78' c
Goal: W. Naiqama (5/5) 5', 8', 32', 71', 78'
23 November 2013
|Try: Tuivasa-Sheck (2) 31' c, 44' m
Johnson 80' c
Goal: Johnson (4/5) 33', 38', 53' 80'
|Report||Try: O'Loughlin 16' c|
Watkins 58' m
S. Burgess 67' c
Goal: Sinfield (3/4) 17', 25', 68'
23 November 2013
|Try: Thurston 9' c
Darius Boyd (2) 15' m, 59' c
Cronk 19' c
Hayne (3) 22' c, 37' c, 68' c
Tamou 53' c
Morris 72' c
Fifita 79' c
Goal: Thurston (10/11) 10', 20', 23', 36', 39', 55', 60', 69', 73', 80'
30 November 2013
Shaun Johnson (1/1) 16'
Billy Slater (2) 19' c, 41' c
Cooper Cronk 30' c
Brett Morris (2) 52' c, 72' c
Johnathan Thurston (7/7) 4', 19', 30', 35', 41', 52', 72'
After Australia kicked off, a New Zealand error in the first set of the game led to an early opportunity and field position for Australia, and the penalty was kicked by Johnathan Thurston to open the scoring to 2-0. The Kiwis suffered an early blow when after just one touch of the ball, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a recurrence of an ankle injury that forced him from the field after just 8 minutes with second rower Alex Glenn his replacement, forcing a re-shuffle with Simon Mannering moving to the centres and Dean Whare to the wing. Australia weren't without their problems though as soon after Jarryd Hayne went down with an apparent concussion after colliding with the hip of Simon Mannering while tackling the Kiwi captain, though the Kangaroos centre would remain on the field. Further play from the Kiwis brought them into the Australian half of the field, and a holding penalty then given by the Australians was kicked by Shaun Johnson to level the score to 2-2 at the 16 minute mark. Despite Old Trafford having an in-goal area of just 4.1m, Australia were able to force a line drop-out. From this, Thurston was able to kick to Billy Slater, setting up the first four-pointer which Thurston also converted to make the score 8-2. A try attempt by Cooper Cronk was controversially  disallowed by the video referee, who ruled Isaac Luke had been able to stop the ball coming into contact with the in-goal grass while also giving New Zealand a penalty against Andrew Fifita for 'driving' Luke. Cronk didn't have to wait long to score though, as a few minutes later Darius Boyd got around Whare and raced down the wing before putting in a miss-kicked grubber which Cronk managed to find to go over and score despite a desperate Kevin Locke tackle. Thurston kicked his 3rd goal from 3 attempts to take the score out to 14-2. Thurston's conversion of Cronk's try saw him overtake Michael Cronin as Australia's highest point scorer in test match football. Manu Vatuvei's attacking run for New Zealand saw him pushed over the sideline 5 metres out by 5 desperate Australian defenders, and an offside penalty at the 35 minute mark gave Thurston another kick to bring the score out to 16-2 at halftime.
Billy Slater opened the scoring on the first set of the second half, thanks to break by captain Cameron Smith who passed outside to Thurston who found Darius Boyd who raced down the sideline and found Slater in support as Kiwi fullback Kevin Locke loomed in defence. This gave Thurston another chance to convert and bring the score to 22-2. A charge-down by Ben Matulino and regather from Sonny Bill Williams led to New Zealand beginning attack at halfway. More potential attack from the Kiwis was defused easily by the Australians, until a New Zealand grubber gave possession back to the Australians. A flick offload from Josh Papalii led to a chip kick from Brett Morris, regathered and then re-kicked by Jarryd Hayne led to a sliding Morris try. A conversion by Thurston brought the score out to 28-2. Both teams were having issues with the geography of the ground, as Morris collided with the signage during his try and a flying Manu Vatuvei landed awkwardly on the concrete surrounding the field. Australia's control of the game led to the New Zealanders forced into defense of their own line, defusing Australia's attack but not managing any successful attack of their own. A near 100 metre try by Morris, thanks to a 70-metre intercept run by Hayne, and conversion by Thurston made the score 34-2 with eight minutes to go.
Australian scrum half back Johnathan Thurston was named the final's man-of-the-match, his fourth such award of the tournament. His conversion of Cronk's first half try also broke Mick Cronin's 31-year-old record of 309 Test points for the Kangaroos. The 32-point margin set a new record for heaviest victory in a final, eclipsing Australia's 40-12 victory over the Kiwis in the same stadium in 2000.
Seven grounds achieved sell-out crowds, with four setting stadium records. Games held in both Wales and Ireland were watched by the biggest crowds ever for rugby league internationals in those countries. The final was played in front of the largest crowd ever to attend an international rugby league fixture.
|26 October 2013||Australia||England||Millennium Stadium||Cardiff||45,052|
|26 October 2013||Wales||Italy||Millennium Stadium||Cardiff||45,052|
|27 October 2013||Papua New Guinea||France||Craven Park||Hull||7,481|
|27 October 2013||New Zealand||Samoa||Halliwell Jones Stadium||Warrington||14,965|
|28 October 2013||Fiji||Ireland||Spotland||Rochdale||8,872|
|29 October 2013||Tonga||Scotland||Derwent Park||Workington||7,630|
|30 October 2013||United States||Cook Islands||Memorial Stadium||Bristol||7,247|
|1 November 2013||New Zealand||France||Parc des Sports||Avignon||17,158|
|2 November 2013||England||Ireland||John Smith's Stadium||Huddersfield||24,375|
|2 November 2013||Australia||Fiji||Langtree Park||St. Helens||14,137|
|3 November 2013||Wales||United States||Racecourse Ground||Wrexham||8,019|
|3 November 2013||Scotland||Italy||Derwent Park||Workington||7,280|
|4 November 2013||Papua New Guinea||Samoa||Craven Park||Hull||6,871|
|5 November 2013||Tonga||Cook Islands||Leigh Sports Village||Leigh||10,554|
|7 November 2013||Scotland||United States||AJ Bell Stadium||Eccles||6,041|
|8 November 2013||New Zealand||Papua New Guinea||Headingley||Leeds||18,180|
|9 November 2013||England||Fiji||KC Stadium||Hull||25,114|
|9 November 2013||Australia||Ireland||Thomond Park||Limerick||5,021|
|10 November 2013||Wales||Cook Islands||The Gnoll||Neath||3,720|
|10 November 2013||Tonga||Italy||The Shay||Halifax||10,226|
|11 November 2013||France||Samoa||Stade Gilbert Brutus||Perpignan||11,576|
|15 November 2013||New Zealand||Scotland||Headingley||Leeds||16,207|
|16 November 2013||Australia||United States||Racecourse Ground||Wrexham||5,762|
|16 November 2013||England||France||DW Stadium||Wigan||22,276|
|17 November 2013||Samoa||Fiji||Halliwell Jones Stadium||Warrington||12,776|
|23 November 2013||New Zealand||England||Wembley||London||67,545|
|23 November 2013||Australia||Fiji||Wembley||London||67,545|
|30 November 2013||Australia||New Zealand||Old Trafford||Manchester||74,468|
|Country||Channel televising all matches|
|Ireland||Setanta Sports 1|
|North Africa and the Middle East||OSN|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport|
|Papua New Guinea||EM TV|
|United Kingdom||Premier Sports*|
* The BBC and Premier Sports jointly televised seven live matches with the remaining twenty one live matches exclusive to Premier Sports. The jointly live matches were England's Group A matches (BBC One), an inter-group match between Wales and Italy and a quarter final (both on BBC Two), a semi final and the final (both on BBC One). The jointly televised quarter final and semi final involved England. England's first Group A match against Australia was not televised in Cambridgeshire and the South East while England's second Group A match against Ireland was not televised in the East Midlands, Wales, West and the West Midlands while England's final Group A match against Fiji was not televised in Scotland and Scotland HD.