Rugby league: This can help put England into a league of their own
The countdown has begun. In a year's time, the grandest stage of rugby league will come to this country when England and Wales host the 2013 World Cup.
England's rugby league elite squad have their training base at Loughborough University and it will continue to host the squad throughout the competition.
They kick off their campaign in the opening fixture against the most successful country in rugby league World Cup history, the 2008 beaten finalists Australia, on October 26 next year at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
England prop Eorl Crabtree, nephew of legendary wrestler Shirley 'Big Daddy' Crabtree, said having the World Cup in this country is a great opportunity for the team.
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"Playing it over here will be a fantastic experience, especially with our home fans behind us," he said.
"It is also an opportunity to raise the profile of the sport in this country.
"It doesn't really get its just rewards for such a great sport. Rugby league is a game that can, and should, get bigger.
"The sport doesn't seem to be played as widely in schools as we would like it to be. We just want to try to raise the awareness of the sport and to get people playing it.
"Even if you are a football fan, just give it a try and people will appreciate what we do.
"It's about building for the future of our sport – we want people to rock up to games and enjoy themselves. It's about a legacy of getting people involved in rugby league."
Crabtree, who has played more than 250 games for Huddersfield Giants in the Super League, could also play a World Cup fixture on his home ground when England face Ireland at the John Smith's Stadium.
"I am really looking forward to playing on home soil and in my own stadium, it's only 15 minutes away from my house," he said.
He also paid tribute to the facilities at Loughborough University.
"We trained there throughout the season with the elite squad, it's an incredible set-up and it's a great place to be," he said.
Crabtree suffered an injury setback at the end of the season but said he is just focused on getting fit and getting picked for the squad.
"The injuries aren't too bad, I had a couple of operations on my right shoulder, which is a three-month injury, and then had my elbow drained.
"I definitely should be fit for next year but you never know what could happen next season.
"I just want to put in some decent performances and get picked for England."
Despite having professional wrestling in his blood with his late uncle Shirley being a legend of the British professional wrestling scene, and two of his other nephews becoming wrestlers themselves, Crabtree said it was never going to be a career choice for him.
"It's part of my heritage and I am proud of it, but it wasn't something that I ever wanted to get into because it was always rugby for me," he said.
"So you won't be seeing me in a leotard any time soon."