The build-up to July's Student Rugby League World Cup continued following the completion of the competition draw on Saturday April 27.
The draw took place at the English Student Rugby League Regional Championships and was made by the captains of the Midlands, North East, North West, South East, South West and Yorkshire squads in front of 120 players who later challenged for selection in a highly competitve tournament.
The World Cup is the biggest event in the Student sector of the game and kicks off on Thursday July 4 and culminates as part of the Festival Of World Cups Finals Day at Headingley Stadium on Sunday July 14 ahead of this autumn's Rugby League World Cup 2013, hosted by England and Wales.
The draw was seeded with 2008 World Cup semi-finalists Australia, England, New Zealand and Wales drawn from a separate bag to the other four competing nations; Scotland, South Africa, Ireland and Russia.
In Pool A, reigning World Cup Champions Australia are joined by New Zealand, Scotland and Russia. In Pool B, hosts England face reigning Home Nations Champions Wales, South
Africa and Ireland.
"It's a very exciting draw," commented David Butler, Festival of World Cups Operations Manager, who hosted the draw. "There will be some fantastic games from the beginning of the tournament in the group stages right through to the Final on July 14. The Student game has attracted more and more interest in this country in recent years and people attending these games are guaranteed a great standard of Rugby League"
Addressing the England hopefuls at the English Regional Championships, England Manager Carl Richards spoke of the intense preparation that the players would face ahead of the World Cup.
"It is going to be intense," he said. "Players selected will have to step up if they are to compete with some of these teams. We will be pushing players to the limit to get them into shape for the tournament and it will be tough."
Fixtures, venues and ticketing details for the group stages and the Finals Day for the Student Rugby League World Cup will be announced shortly.
Keep up to date on the Festival of World Cups by visiting the official website at www.rlfowc2013.com , on Twitter @FOWC2013 and at www.facebook.com/fowc2013