The dates, kick off times and venues have been confirmed for the 2018 Rugby League European Championship, which features France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The tournament also acts as a qualifier for the 2021 World Cup in England, with the top two nations going through automatically to join the current eight seeds.
The bottom two nations will become the top seeds in the 2019 final European qualifying tournament, alongside Italy, the top two nations in European B and the winners of European C - both competitions currently in progress.
Each European Championship nation meets the other over three consecutive weekends, the draw seeing Ireland and France with two home fixtures.
President of the French Rugby League Federation, Marc Palanques commented: “We can’t wait to participate. It is through the organization of this kind of competition that we can develop by making our sport better known. We hope that in the future, other nations will be able to participate. It is the pinnacle of our sport.”
New Ireland RL chairman Barry Coade said: “We had our AGM last week which was very successful. We have a new board of young and enthusiastic people and we can’t wait to give a great Irish welcome to everyone, both on and off the field.”
“This is the start of an exciting new four year cycle for Scotland Rugby League,” noted their chairman Keith Hogg. “The European Championship will provide a great opportunity for a number of players who have come through our pathway to play for their country at the highest level. At the same time we know that those players who have shown tremendous commitment to Scotland Rugby League over many years will, once again, show their passion for the shirt. The fact that there are World Cup spots up for grabs makes it an even more exciting for everyone involved.”
“As current European Champions, are very much looking forward to defending our crown,” added Wales Rugby League chairman Brian Juliff. “We are under no illusions and anticipate a challenging competition against teams that performed well at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup - where we were proud of the spirit and commitment shown by our young squad. That experience has served them well. We have two interesting games away from home this year which will be a measure of our quality.”
2018 RUGBY LEAGUE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP – FIXTURES
Saturday 27 October, I2pm IRELAND v SCOTLAND Morton Stadium, Santry
Saturday 27 October, 6pm FRANCE v WALES Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne
Friday 2 November, 7.30pm SCOTLAND v WALES Gala RFC, Galashiels
Saturday 3 November, 2pm IRELAND v FRANCE Morton Stadium, Santry
Saturday 10 November, 6pm FRANCE v SCOTLAND Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne
Sunday 11 November, 3pm WALES v IRELAND Racecourse Ground, Wrexham