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Nines World Cup and tour of NZ confirmed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/03/2017 By Andy Hampson
Rugby ball. © Getty Images/Allsport Rugby ball.

A Nines World Cup is to be held in 2019 while a British team will tour Australia and New Zealand in the same year.

The touring team could be England, as a the Rugby League International Federation statement has suggested, but Press Association Sport understands a revival of the Great Britain side has not yet been ruled out.

These developments appear to mean the Four Nations tournament concept has been consigned to history.

The announcements came following a meeting of the RLIF board.

It was also confirmed the 2021 World Cup will be a 16-team tournament and that an Emerging Nations World Championship will also be created.

The meeting was held to start to fill in gaps in the international calendar around the World Cups of 2017, 2021 and 2025.

The Nines World Cup is seen as a vehicle to help expand the game, with smaller-sided and shorter games hopefully appealing to a new audience.

Hosts for the inaugural tournament are being sought. If the tournament is successful it could be repeated in 2023, or an alternative global event could be held.

The Nines World Cup would complement a tour Down Under from the British Isles.

In recent years England have been the principal flag-bearer for the Home Nations in top-level international competition with the British Lions side having been mothballed since their last tour in 1996.

In 2018, international focus will switch to the Emerging Nations World Championship.

Canada, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Niue, the Philippines, Thailand and Vanuatu are the first nations to be confirmed as entrants.

It was also confirmed that Italy have been granted full RLIF membership.

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