Rugby League World Cup still on track

HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (R) in action against Fiji at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Wellington. The two teams could be on a collision course for the 2021 tournament quarterfinal in Hull.

Six months out from the biggest Rugby League World Cup in history organisers are forging ahead with the event, while other codes have got cold feet.

The Rugby League World Cup for men, women and wheelchair athletes will draw teams from 21 nations – including several which are still struggling with Covid-19.

Thirty-two teams from countries within the United Kingdom, Europe, North, South and Central America, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean have qualified.

The tournament in England runs between 23 October and 27 November and for the first time, all three competitions will run concurrently.

New Zealand Rugby League chief executive officer Greg Peters said the governing body was still committed to sending the Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns and a physically disabled rugby league team to the tournament but he understood if athletes had concerns.

While World Rugby and the International Cricket Council had postponed world cup tournaments in 2021 – aside from the T20 Cricket World Cup also scheduled for October in India – International Rugby League and tournament organisers were still planning to fill the 17 host stadiums across England with fans.

Despite the organisers’ optimism, Peters knew the realities associated with Covid-19.

“We’re not going ahead blindly as if we won’t have any problems along the way, but at the moment our planning is that we’ll be attending.”

More Stories