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Four Nations future remains clouded

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016 Ian Laybourn

The future of the Four Nations is unclear as officials debate the future of international rugby league.

Australia were victorious in Sunday's tournament final, beating New Zealand 34-8 at Anfield, possibly bringing the curtain down on the biennial event.

Rugby League International Federation chief executive David Collier does not know if or when the tournament will be held again.

The 2017 World Cup, which will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand from next October, will bring to an end the federation's current calendar of events.

Although the federation has confirmed the 2021 World Cup will take place in England and the 2025 competition in North America, there is nothing set in stone for the intervening years.

Collier told Press Association Sport there is a consensus for an eight-team event, but that is unlikely to take place until 2023.

"I think eventually the eight nations will become the Four Nations on steroids, so it has a growth spurt to it," Collier said.

"We want a second major event and we made a decision on Saturday that we will play that in 2023 and we will go out to tender fairly soon for a destination."

Collier says the three major nations - Australia, New Zealand and England - will need to determine if there is room for another Four Nations before then.

Australia is almost certain to take a sabbatical from the international game in 2018 as part of an agreement with its NRL players.

There is scope for another Four Nations Series in 2019 but the potential return of the Kangaroos or British Lions tours is back on the agenda, as well as an international nines competition.

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