Wales were condemned to a seventh straight defeat and a drop into the third tier of the world rankings ahead of the 2015 World Cup draw.
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Wales Coach Iestyn Harris says he hopes hosting the Rugby League World Cup will help raise the profile of the sport in the country.
Wales will take on Italy today as the competition gets underway in Cardiff.
While a win will go a long way to helping their campaign, organisers are hoping it has a greater effect off the field.
The Rugby League World Cup gets underway in the Millennium Stadium today with the opening ceremony and then two games.
The opening games will see Wales take on Italy and Australia play England.
Wales Coach Iestyn Harris says he hopes hosting the competition will help raise the profile of the sport in the country.
The Millennium Stadium's hosting the Cardiff Mind Sports Festival this weekend, with some of the UK's biggest board game experts playing at the venue.
The festival's also open for the public to take part and sees a variety of tournaments including Chess, Scrabble and our favourite card games.
"There's a huge audience that want to come and play," said Peter Ramsay, Marketing Director of Mind Sports International.
"In terms of the prize fund it's everything from small bragging rights to trophies to 2,000 to 10,000 pounds in euros.
"This is the first of its kind to come to the UK, it's the first ever to come here in Wales and its the largest one of its kind so far to dat."
The new manager of the Millennium Stadium, Mark Williams, says it is a "dream job" and a "privilege" to be in charge of Wales' leading sporting venue.
Williams will take up the post later this month, after leaving the army, where he is a Lieutenant Colonel.
A decorated senior army officer has been appointed as the new manager of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
Mark Williams, from Glynneath, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Welsh, and served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
He was decorated for his actions in combat in Iraq, where he led Welsh soldiers on many missions into Basra in 2007.
Now 42, he joins the Welsh Rugby Union later this month on his retirement from the army.
In his new role, he will have responsibility for the operation of the Millennium Stadium, owned and operated by the WRU.
He replaces Gerry Toms, who stepped down in March from what he described as the best job in Wales.
Mark Williams said: "I am deeply honoured to be joining the WRU in such an important role and I relish the challenges and opportunities this represents for me. As a proud Welshman and rugby supporter I understand the important place the stadium holds in the whole psyche and culture of Wales."
Rylan Clark is hosting this year's Cardiff Mardi Gras. The X Factor star is also performing at the event which is expected to draw thousands of people to the Millennium Stadium. It's Wales's biggest LGBT event. It's the first time its being held at the stadium. See more at 5:30pm on ITV.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band will take to the stage at the Millennium Stadium tonight. A crowd of around 29,000 is expected to attend.
Gates open at 5pm and the show starts at 7pm.
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It's been confirmed that Wales will play two of their Rugby World Cup group games in front of a home crowd in Cardiff in 2015.
The Millennium Stadium will host eight games in total, including two quarter finals. The tournament is being hosted by England.
Richard Morgan reports.