03 August 2023

2026 Rugby League World Cup to be hosted in southern hemisphere

03 August 2023

The next Rugby League World Cup will take place in the southern hemisphere in 2026, the sport’s international governing body has announced.

The tournament had been due to take place in France in 2025 but the prospective hosts pulled out in May citing a failure to achieve financial guarantees.

In addition, the IRL announced a resumption of the Ashes series with England’s men’s and women’s teams travelling to Australia in 2025, and return visits from New Zealand and Australia in 2027 and 2028 respectively.

The International Rugby League (IRL) said a precise decision on the hosting rights for the next World Cup will be announced later this year.

The revised tournament will feature a reduced field of 10 men’s teams, as well as eight-team women’s and wheelchair World Cups respectively.

IRL chairman Troy Grant said the organisation has received two separate bids to host the new tournament, presumed to be from Australia and New Zealand, which will be backed by government guarantees.

Grant said: “We will have an expedited bid process and the host will be identified before the year’s end, once the board has completed its due diligence of those bids.”

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