Rugby League World Cup pushed back until 2022 after Australia pulls out

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Australia won the previous Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane four years ago

Australia won the previous Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane four years ago (Picture: Getty)

This year’s Rugby League World Cup has been postponed until 2022, tournament
organisers have announced.

The news had been anticipated since Australia and New Zealand pulled out of the tournament a fortnight ago, citing safety fears amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers initially vowed to press ahead with the tournament in the autumn without two of the big three but were forced to acknowledge defeat as all 16 NRL clubs backed the boycott.

Prince Harry, in his role as patron of the Rugby Football League, helped make the draw for the now rearranged World Cup

Prince Harry, in his role as patron of the Rugby Football League, helped make the draw for the now rearranged World Cup (Picture: Getty)

Rugby League World Cup Chief Executive Officer, Jon Dutton said: ‘Ultimately, time and competing priorities from others forced us to make the most difficult decision in our six-year history.

‘However, we and the sport of Rugby League are resilient, and next year we will deliver our vision of the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup ever.

‘We have always prioritised player voice and player choice.’

Dutton added: ‘We have established a player working group, met with senior players and in the last few days commissioned a player survey to domestic players in Australia and New Zealand that showed more than 85% wanted to compete at RLWC2021 this year.

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‘However, following the disappointing decision of the ARLC and NZRL to withdraw, and the subsequent impact on player availability for other competing nations, it is apparent that delivering the tournament this year would not be feasible.”

The World Cup was scheduled to begin on October 23 with the final on November 27 at Old Trafford in Manchester


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