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Sonny Bill factor proving major pulling power for World Cup clash

Leeds Rhinos are expecting a bumper crowd for this Friday's crunch Rugby League World Cup clash between World Champions New Zealand and Papua New Guinea with the Kiwi's superstar Sonny Bill Williams proving to be a major attraction for sporting fans across the region.
Sonny Bill factor proving major pulling power for World Cup clash
by rleague.com

Leeds Rhinos are expecting a bumper crowd for this Friday's crunch Rugby League World Cup clash between World Champions New Zealand and Papua New Guinea with the Kiwi's superstar Sonny Bill Williams proving to be a major attraction for sporting fans across the region.

New Zealand have won their opening two games of the World Cup so far but Williams was rested for Friday's win in France that saw a capacity crowd of 17,000 in attendance in Avignon, many of whom had come to see the dual code star. The club have announced that the South Stand and Carnegie Stand terraces have now sold out but there is still availability on the Western Terrace and limited availability for seats for this Friday's clash.

Such has been the overwhelming demand for tickets for the game at Headingley Carnegie since Williams announced his intention to try and become the first man ever to become a Rugby Union and Rugby League World Champion at the same time that the Rhinos are now looking at potential plans to attract Williams back to Headingley Carnegie for his other world title ambition - as a boxer.

Williams is currently the New Zealand Heavyweight Champion and has stated his ambition to fight for a global title. Leeds Rugby Commercial Director Rob Oates believes Headingley would be an ideal venue if Williams ever wanted to fight in the northern hemisphere. He commented, "We are always looking at ways to utilise the stadium all year round and attract major global events to our stadium. As well as Rugby League, Rugby Union and cricket, we have hosted a number of other events in recent years, including staging Europe's Strongest Man, that shows we can attract sports fans to see these events.

"Sonny Bill is a superstar in Rugby League but, because of his high profile in Rugby Union as well with the All Blacks, he is someone who the general public are also aware of. I am not sure what his plans are for his boxing career but presumably to get the big fights he would have to come up to the Northern hemisphere and we think Headingley would make a great venue for him, given how well known he is to rugby fans in the region,” added Oates.

Leeds Rhinos and injured England star Jamie Jones-Buchanan says he too is looking forward to seeing Williams and the Kiwi's take on Papua New Guinea on Friday night. He added, "I can not wait for this one, it is going to be a cracking match. I am a Rugby League fan first and foremost and I am excited to see these two sides in action. Apart from winning the big Finals, one of my favourite memories of my career is playing against Sonny Bill Williams when we beat Canterbury to win the World Club Challenge at Elland Road in 2005. He is an immense talent and someone that kids see and want to go out in the backyard and play like.

"Papua New Guinea are a big attraction as well because of the way they play the game. I was part of the England squad, although I didn't play in that game, at the last World Cup who were given a major fright by them and they will be desperate to get through to the knock out stages. It would be nice to think we could get the biggest crowd of the pool games outside of the England matches for this one and that would really cement Headingley Carnegie place on the map again as a top venue for world class sport.”

Tickets are on sale now from Headingley Carnegie or can be booked online 24 hours a day at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets The stadium will also host the World Cup Quarter Final next Friday night, 15th November, and fans who purchase tickets for the Papua New Guinea game can take advantage of half price tickets for the Quarter Final clash as well, also likely to feature New Zealand. Fans will be able to pay at the turnstile on the night for ground entry, priced £15 for adults and £7.50 for concessions.




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