Rugby League International Federation CEO Nigel Wood has welcomed the announcement of the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s, to be held in Sydney in October 2019, as further indication of the growing portfolio of the international governing body.
The RLIF is now directly responsible for seven world competitions encompassing men’s, women’s, students, armed forces and wheelchair variants.
“There are already many competitions going on around the world which are organised and supported by the RLIF. Every one of these events takes a great deal of effort and collaboration to bring them to fruition. The Downer 9s is a great example of that collaboration.”
“It is our mission to deliver structured international competitions which stimulate our players and allows them to excel, that entertain fans and allow member nations to progress and develop.”
Focus is also currently on the qualifying process for the 2021 Rugby League World Cups in England, which will feature men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments running concurrently for the first time.
The men’s competition currently has 11 of 16 nations qualified, Jamaica the latest and first Caribbean nation to do so since the World Cup began in 1954, with a record 27 countries participating in the process.
The recent Emerging Nations World Championship, which included eleven individual nations, four confederations and a physical disability element, further emphasised the overall reach and inclusivity of the sport at international level.
“There is a strong appetite to ensure that the RLIF builds upon that success and further discussions will take place to build the ENWC as a regular part of the competition calendar,” added Wood.
“We are in discussion with RLWC2021 to see how we can continue to grow and develop the ‘Festival of World Cups’ concept.
“The 9s format provides a different and additional way to promote international rugby league, as seen by two Commonwealth Championships - endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Federation - and inclusion in the Pacifica Games.
“It provides a further pathway to involve more nations in meaningful international competition.”