26 Feb 2015

Kiwis to play at London's Olympic Stadium

11:48 am on 26 February 2015

The Kiwis are set to make history after being confirmed to play England at London's Olympic Stadium in November as the famous ground hosts international rugby league for the first time.

The 54,000-capacity stadium is one of three venues named for a three-Test series between the two sides that will mark England's first appearance on home soil since their narrow defeat by New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney outside London's Olympic Stadium

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney outside London's Olympic Stadium Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The series opens with the first match at KC Stadium in Hull on November 1st in an international that will form part of the 150-year celebrations of host club Hull FC, which was founded in 1865.

The historic Olympic Stadium fixture takes place on Saturday, November 7, before the series concludes with the third encounter at Wigan's DW Stadium on Saturday, November 14.

"The Olympic Stadium provided the backdrop to some truly memorable action at London 2012 and it is simply fantastic that we have reached an agreement for England to play New Zealand there in November," says Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood.

"The world's best rugby league players deserve to play on the biggest stages and our supporters deserve the opportunity watch rugby league in the best venues."

"The Kiwis are our oldest rivals on the international stage and the match at Olympic Stadium will provide one of the highlights of a historic year for the sport, as we celebrate our 120-year anniversary in 2015."

"Two years have elapsed since we last hosted New Zealand and I am sure that everyone who witnessed that memorable semi-final at Wembley Stadium will be looking forward to experiencing a re-match at Olympic Stadium."

The Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney inspected the Olympic Stadium last week, during the Brisbane Broncos' World Club Challenge visit.

"I'm really excited that my players have the chance to play in the inaugural Rugby League game at such an outstanding venue," he says.

"If we can fill it full of English fans and get it full of noise, it will be a wonderful occasion."

"In our last two performances against England, there has been nothing between the two sides and I imagine this series will be no different."

"The fans should be excited about the England team."

"The way they have played against us and Australia recently, they have been great contests and I think they were unlucky to lose in Melbourne."

Kearney's English counterpart coach Steve McNamara says the schedule for the Kiwis series is very exciting and it's fantastic they have this opportunity to play an historic international at an iconic venue like the Olympic Stadium.

"Playing New Zealand always brings out the best in the England players and the chance to be involved in the match at Olympic Stadium will provide additional incentive for everyone."

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