2021 Rugby League World Cup


Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Staff member
Details revealed for 2021 World Cup

Tue 05 Dec, 2017, 3:02pm
Brad Walter, NRL.com

In the hours after Saturday night's Rugby League World Cup decider, England rugby director Kevin Sinfield sent a text message to Jon Dutton, the CEO of the 2021 tournament, asking the date of the final.

"I told him that all being well it would be played on Saturday, November 27," Dutton said. "Kevin replied, 'Well planning to win the World Cup final on November 27, 2021 begins now'."

With the two million BBC viewers who watched the final and the England fans inside Suncorp Stadium daring to believe until the last tackle that the 2021 hosts World Cup hosts could also be the holders of the Paul Barriere Trophy, interest in the next tournament is strong.

Dutton said 39 towns and cities across England had expressed interest in hosting matches during the 2021 World Cup – a tournament that has received GBP25 million in government funding.

Many other key details have already been decided, including:

• the number of competing nations will increase from 14 to 16;

• the tournament will run concurrently with eight-team Women's and Wheelchair World Cups;

• games would be spread across the week and not just played on weekends as they were at RLWC2017;

• the maximum number of venues permitted by the Rugby League International Federation to stage matches will increase from 12 at RLWC2017 to 14 in 2021, and;

• 80 per cent of matches would be played in the code's northern heartland, with Hull, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester almost certain to be among the host cities.

Dutton said the 2021 tournament would "absolutely stage games in London" and there was also interest from France but les Chanticleers will need to qualify after failing to advance beyond the pool stages in 2017.

The qualifying process has also been decided, with Australia, England, Fiji, Lebanon, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga guaranteed inclusion after making it to the quarter-finals.

In total, there will be seven European teams, six from Asia-Pacific (already decided), two from the Americas. The 16th and final spot will be decided by a play-off tournament featuring the No.1 Middle East/African nation, the third-best team from the Americas and a seventh Pacific nation side.

After Ireland won two of their three pool games and lost narrowly to the Kumuls in Port Moresby but failed to make the quarter-finals while Samoa advanced without winning a match, it is likely that at the 2021 World Cup the top two teams from each group will go through to the quarter-finals.

"We very genuinely now have stronger nations pushing the tier one nations," said Dutton, who was RLIF tournament commissioner at RLWC2017.

"The emergence of Tonga was the story of the World Cup and I was fortunate to be at both of Tonga's games in Hamilton as well as their game in Auckland against England.

"The Fiji performance in the quarter final was another highlight and Papua New Guinea was incredible full stop - the performance and just everything about their three games in Port Moresby.

"One of our values will be to be bold and brave, and I think that is what the organisers at the World Cup here did with Darwin, which was a huge success, and with Papua New Guinea, which was a resounding success."

The quarter-final between Australia and Samoa in Darwin, all three matches in Papua New Guinea, Tonga's clash with New Zealand in Hamilton and the semi-final between the Mate Ma'a and England in Auckland were all sell-outs.

However, it was the broadcast figures in both Australia and the UK which underscored the interest in international football, with Seven reporting that 7.2 million people nationally – more than a quarter of the population – had watched at least one World Cup game.

In Britain, the final – kicking off at 9am on Saturday – averaged 1.5 million viewers on the BBC and peaked at 2 million viewers.

In Australia, the final out-drew the third session of the Ashes in Adelaide, with 1.382 million viewers watching Australia's 6-0 defeat of England compared to 1.139 million viewers for the cricket.

Dutton said the creation of an international weekend on June 22-24 to coincide with the stand-alone State of Origin, in which no NRL or Super League matches are played, would help maintain the momentum between World Cups.

"There is no point just being excited about international rugby league in four years' time, we need to be excited about it in 2018, 2019 and 2020," he said.

"It is in everyone's interest to have more regular international competition in the international weekend which has been created, and then at the end of the season, so that everything can build towards the World Cup," he said.

"Then after we have had the World Cup in 2021 it is building towards something special in 2025, when the World Cup is staged in North America."


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Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
The last time round in England was a flop, and countries had to wait for financial dispersement. What are sellouts here may not be sellouts in a cold, frozen UK.


Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Staff member
Format change for 2021 Rugby League World Cup announced

November 13, 2018 10:09am

Hosts England will open the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and will be seeded alongside titleholder Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.

Details of the draw were unveiled on Monday following a four-day congress of the Rugby League International Federation in York.

The Rugby League World Cup has been increased from 14 to 16 teams, making for a simpler format, with the top two teams from each of the four pools going through to the quarterfinals.

The draws for all three Rugby League World Cups, including the women’s and wheelchair events, will be made in England on November 27, 2019, exactly two years before the 2021 final.

The second pot will feature tier two teams Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, and Lebanon, who all qualified automatically after reaching the last eight of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The final two pots will feature qualifiers, based on their world ranking, including the two most recently qualified sides, France and Wales.

After failing to win through from the European championship, Ireland and Scotland hope to secure qualification at the second attempt in 2019, while the United States, Chile, Jamaica, and Canada will provide one qualifier from the Americas championship in Jacksonville this week.

The women’s tournament will begin on the men’s quarterfinal weekend in 2021.

“One of our main aims was to hold the most inclusive Rugby League World Cup of all time, and I’m delighted that we have that confirmed,” Rugby League World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said.

“It was important for us to demonstrate a commitment to tier two nations, and growing maturity for the World Cup with a clearer format.”



Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Jamaica have defeated Canada and USA to be the automatic qualifier from North America.
USA came second, so have another chance to qualify, but Canada are out.
Bad news for the game IMO, with US and Canada being the host nations in 2025. I'd have given them both an automatic spot for 2021.


Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Great news it means all 3 nations are guaranteed a World Cup birth in atleast one of the next two world cups. For Jamaica and Canada that is great news on their development.


Danny 'Bedsy' Buderus
Staff member
Anyone pumped up for this? There's been so little mention of hype towards it ... I guess no surprise since there haven't been any internationals in what seems like a decade.

I was planning to head over for it until covid hit.