HALTON will host the USA national team during next year’s Rugby League World Cup.
The USA Tomahawks will use the Stobart Stadium Halton as their training venue during the tournament, being held in October and November next year, and the team base camp will be at the De Vere Village Hotel, Daresbury.
To celebrate the announcement, school dinners across the borough took on an American theme on Thursday, with more than 12,000 children tucking in to some stateside grub.
At St Bede’s Catholic Junior School in Widnes, where the announcement was made, pupils dressed in red, white and blue and were joined for their themed lunch by guests from Halton Borough Council and Widnes Vikings, including rugby league legend Frank Myler, who played in Great Britain’s 1960 World Cup-winning team and captained England in the 1970 World Cup Final.
Former Ireland captain Terry O’Connor – a former St Bede’s pupil – and players from the current Vikings squad also attended the celebration.
Halton Brough Council executive board member for sport, Cllr Phil Harris, said: “Halton welcomes our American cousins to the borough and we look forward to them visiting our schools and communities. This is the Tomahawks’ first Rugby League World Cup and they will find a warm welcome in Widnes and Runcorn on their visit to England.’’
David Niu, president of rugby league in America, said: “The American National Rugby League is delighted to learn that the USA Tomahawks will be based in the borough of Halton, and the town of Widnes, for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
“As the pioneers of the sport of rugby league in the USA, we could not have asked for a better location for our team to be based than withŠa club that was a founding member in the development of the sport of rugby league in England.
“We are well aware thatŠWidnes has produced many wonderful championship teams and players. “In doing so, they must have enjoyed tremendous support and encouragement from the local community and fans. We hope that our Tomahawks might generate that same passion in the community to get behind our team and nation as we take part in our first ever Rugby League World Cup. We look forward to seeing you all soon.”