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Bristol – the host with the most (to gain for the Greatest Game)


Bristol is really taking to its host city status for the RLWC2013, so I wanted to make sure you were all aware of the activities going on in the city around the first week of the tournament.


This will be particularly relevant to anyone travelling to Cardiff for the opening ceremony, as we’ve built a couple of great events around the night before and the day after. Bristol is, literally, on the way to or from Cardiff, and indeed would make a great base for a visit to South Wales, given it’s only 40 minutes away on public transport.


Here are the key activities:


Friday 25th October:


Two Events on One Ticket!


6pm – 7.20pm Wheelchair Rugby League

Demonstration and try-it session – SGS WISE Sports Hall


Swindon St George are currently the only National league Wheelchair RL team in the South West. Head coach Tony Ellis (Wiltshire Inclusion Coach of the Year) and Wales WRL International Martin Lane (Wiltshire Disability Sports Personality of the Year), will lead a demonstration game against the University of Gloucestershire All Golds, which will include tips on how to coach differently abled participants, and an opportunity to try the sport.


Wheelchair RL is not a disability sport – it is open to anyone, but is played in a wheelchair. It maintains all the key elements of the field sport – oval ball, backwards-only passing, tackles (via a shoulder-tag), retiring offside lines, and of course, tries and goals (via a hand-punt over scaled-down ‘H’ posts). It is fast, furious and physical, and you are welcome to join the Cook Islands international coaches in trying your hand!


7.30pm – 9.00pm Coaching Master Class

with the Cook Islands National team coaches – SGS WISE Theatre


The Cook Islands are using SGS WISE as the training base for their World Cup campaign, which begins at the Memorial Stadium on 30th October.


Head Coach David Fairleigh is a former Kangaroos Tourist, who starred with St Helens in the UK and North Sydney Bears and the Newcastle Knights in Australia. He will be joined with members of his elite coaching team, including Strength & Conditioning Coach Luke Portese (Wests Tigers NRL), and assistant coaches Henry Turua and Charlie Hoff.


The coaches will provide unique insight into leading top-level athletes into international, elite competition. Presentations will be followed by an open question-and-answer session (delegates are asked to prepare questions in advance and submit for consideration on arrival).


Tickets cost £10, and places are limited (free for UKCC Rugby League Coaches, contact directly for details)


Tickets will be available here soon:


These are both at South Glos & Stroud College, Filton WISE Campus, the home of the Bristol Rugby League Academy. This is the Cook Islands team training base (also the Kenyan Olympic team base in London 2012, and the home of the Bristol Academy Women’s Football team). It’s just off the M4/M32/M5 in North Bristol, easily accessible and with lots of parking. If you are driving to Cardiff, you’ll pass within about 4 miles… it would be daft not to stop in! Postcode for SatNav: BS34 8LP



Saturday 26th October

Of course, it’s the Opening Ceremony and matches in Cardiff…. But if you haven’t already bought your tickets and it sells out, you can always watch it on the Big Screen in Bristol’s Millennium Square, just next to the award-winning @Bristol Science Museum and Bristol Aquarium.


Sunday 27th October.


Three events to choose from, and a venue to watch the afternoon & evening games in!


11am – M-Shed Museum

The touring pop-up exhibition, SW Rugby League: A Hidden History, reaches its final destination at the renowned M-Shed Museum. The official opening will include local dignitaries and representatives of Cook Islands RL, and features a performance from the Cook Island Maori Dance troupe. It’s free to attend and open all day. More information here:


1pm – Watershed Arts Centre – In Association with Forty-20 Magazine.


A rare cinema-showing of ‘This Sporting Life’, the classic social-realist film based around Richard Harris’ portrayal of a Wakefield Trinity professional in 1960’s Britain. Tickets are £5.50/£4. More information here:


Magazine details here:



4pm – Riley’s Bar, Clifton

Everyone will be congregating at Riley’s Bar to watch France v PNG, followed by New Zealand v Samoa. Please note, though it is open to all ages in the day, it becomes strictly over 18s at 7pm. Location/details here:


These three events are in the city centre, and within walking distance of one another. Lots of space in the Car Park at Millennium Square, postcode BS1 5DB





If you’re looking for a change of gear, try this:


South West Cheer Festival

10am – 4pm, University of the West of England Frenchay Campus, Sports Centre


A demonstration of cheerleading displays and activities, provided by a number of local groups including the Bristol Black Panthers, The UWE Comets and the Bristol University Jets, all of whom will be appearing at the RLWC2013 match in Bristol on 30th October.


There will be opportunities for juniors to try out, and stalls and stands selling merchandise and refreshments. There will be accompanying performances from the Cook Island Maori Dancers, and live music from the winners of the RLWC2013 Music competitions. Free of charge.


See the facebook event here: UWE Frenchay is very close to SGS Filton WISE, again just off the M4/M32 J1. It’s about 20 minutes’ drive from here to Riley’s to watch the matches. Parking on site. Postcode BS16 1QY


Wednesday 30th October


Last, but most definitely not least, the Cook Islands take on the USA at the Memorial Stadium (Bristol Rovers) on Wednesday, 30th October, kick off 8pm. Entertainment includes the Bristol Samba Band, Cheerleading, Dance, the Gurt Lush Choir, the Cook Islands Dancers, and local artist Naomi. Tickets start for just a tenner, and given its almost Hallowe’en, fancy dress is positively encouraged! It’s selling well, and we’re looking for a real party atmosphere to welcome the likes of Keith Lulia, Zeb Taia, Anthony Gelling and Ryan McGoldrick to the field.


Street parking close by. Nearest station is Montpellier. Regular buses from Temple Meads & Parkway Stations & City Centre. Park and Ride at UWE Frenchay Campus Car Park 20 (opposite main entrance as above).




Please do be aware, it’s HALF TERM, so it’s perfectly possible to bring the kids and stay in the South West for a few days on the back of your visit to Cardiff. There is a huge amount to do in Bristol itself, and its less than half an hour from Bath. It’s also the gateway to the Devon coast and countryside, and a day-trip to Stonehenge.


We do hope you’ll be able to join us in the South West, both to support the existing RL community, and to make the most of this fantastic chance to show a new city what our great game is all about.


For full listings, see


For Bristol’s hotels and other attractions, see and


For more information or for RL Coaches wishing to attend the masterclass & wheelchair RL session, email


Follow @bristolrlwc2013 on Twitter


Thanks for listening



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I was thinking of stopping off somewhere the night before. Bristol may be the place, especially for the Wheelchair. Going to Hull on Sunday though so will have to miss out on that

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Well done to Bristol for really getting behind the World Cup and doing a top job in creating parrallel events and publicity.

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