The 2009 Four Nations tournament is just around the corner, and with France joining three of the best Rugby League teams in the world (Australia, New Zealand and England), this year is set to be better than ever.
For Rugby League Fans, this major sporting event is considered a warm up for the 2013 World Cup, and with matches hosted across England and France during October and November, there’s still time to get tickets to the big games.
We’ve pretty excited about seeing England in action, and to celebrate have compiled a guide to this year’s tournament, with our top tips on where to stay, getting to the matches, and where to find the perfect post-match pint.
If you’re planning on heading furthur afield to see your favourite team, make sure you know the fixtures first. The 2009 line-up looks like this so far:
England vs France : Fri 23rd Oct, 20:00, Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, England.
Australia vs New Zealand: Sat 24th Oct, 20:00, Twickenham Stoop Stadium, London, England.
France vs New Zealand: Sat 31st Oct, 18:00, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France.
England vs Australia: Sat 31st Oct, 14:30, DW Stadium, Wigan, England.
England vs New Zealand:, Sat 7th Nov, 18:00, Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield, England.
France vs Australia: Sat 7th Nov, 15:30, Charlety Stadium, Paris, France.
The Final (tbc): Sat 14th Nov, 19:30, Elland Road, Leeds, England.
Buy Cheap Tickets
Make sure you don’t miss out – book your tickets online in advance for cheaper rates and to get the best seats. Try the Rugby League Events site (you can also order them over the phone) to avoid paying all the pesky booking fees ticket websites add on. Families can save with the Family saver ticket, where tickets are only £40 for two adults and two children for all games, including the final at Elland Road, Leeds.You can also buy tickets from other fans from Viagogo and Get Me In.
Hostels are ideal for accommodation during the Four Nations, as they’re cheap, have a lively and social atmosphere, and larger rooms for groups of mates. There are hostels available close to each hosting town or city, but we advise booking in advance to make sure you get a room.
Many of the stadiums are a bit far out, so you’re often better off staying in a larger neighbouring city, or close to public transport for the stadium. In Wigan, for example, you’re better off staying in a Manchester hostel, and a Leeds hostel for the Leeds and Huddersfield games. You’re spoilt for choice in Paris and London, but we recommend the Walrus hostel in London, and The Young and Happy Hostel in Paris, for the friendly, laid back atmosphere and easy access to each ground. For more ideas on Four Nations Accommodation, check out our guide.
Leave the Car at Home
Unless you already have a car, don’t bother hiring one abroad. It’s easy to get to all the stadiums by public transport – parking and driving there can be a nightmare, and some stadiums can charge astronomical car parking fees during the game! Instead, get the train or bus to each stadium, (or the metro in Paris). You can read all the directions to each stadium here.
For cheap rail tickets in England, book your tickets in advance from the National Rail website or The Trainline. If there’s a group of you, you could save even more on rail fares.
If you’re watching the game in Wigan, be sure to have to pies sold at the DW Stadium – they’re delicious! Otherwise, steer clear of stadium food and drink – it can be really expensive and the quality is often pretty poor. Instead, stock up at a local supermarket and bring a picnic – the DW Stadium alone is next to a giant Asda, a Pizza Hut and a Burger King if you get peckish!
Celebrate! (or Commiserate)
Don’t buy your beer in the overpriced bars at the Stadium, instead check out places to drink recommended by Rugby fans:
Galpharm: The Peacock Pub and Ricky’s Bar on Leeds Road
DW Stadium: The Red Robin Pub, The Anvil (by the bus station), and The Swan and Railway Pub in the town center.
Twickenham Stoop: Eel Pie, the Red Lion, White Cross.
Elland Road: The Old Peacock (or head into Leeds city center for an endless selection of boozers)
And some rugby-friendly drinking dens in France…
Eden Park Cafe, (10 Rue Princess, Paris, 75006)
The Frog and Rosbif (116 Rue St. Denis, 75002 Paris).
The George and Dragon, (1, Place du Peyrou, 31000 Toulouse)
Hoegaarden Cafe, (52 rte Narbonne, 31400 Toulouse)
For more ideas on where to drink in France, we love Allo Match, an online directory of sports bars and pubs, where you can even call ahead and make sure your favourite game is being shown!
Come with Us!
Didn’t manage to get tickets? Well we are offering two Rugby fans the exciting chance to come with us to one of the games. Check back here soon…