2026 Rugby League World Cup

The 2026 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC2026) is a collection of world cups in the sport of rugby league and is a replacement tournament for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

2026 (2026) Rugby League World Cup  ()
Number of teams
 < 2025

Like 2021, the 2026 World Cup will see the men's, women's, and wheelchair world cups simultaneously. However unlike 2021, the men's tournament will feature ten teams only, and the planned expansion of the women's and wheelchair tournament will be delayed keeping team numbers at eight in each.[1][2][3][4][5]

Host selection

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Originally due to be staged in the US and Canada in 2025,[6][7] the offer was withdrawn due to financial concerns.[8] In 2022 hosting was awarded to France.[9][10][11] In May 2023 the French organisers pulled out of hosting the games.[12][13][14][15][16]

On 3 August 2023 the 2025 tournaments were cancelled by the sport's governing body with the announcement that a new reduced-size tournament would take place in the southern hemisphere in 2026.[1][2][3][4][5]

Nations

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10 nations had already qualified for the tournaments:

Note: M=Men's tournament, W=Women's tournament, WC=Wheelchair tournament

Competitions

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As with 2021, the men's, women's, and wheelchair rugby league world cups will be held simultaneously in equal prominence.

Women

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Wheelchair

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Legacy

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With the announcement of the 2026 Rugby League World Cup, International Rugby League also announced a long awaited international rugby league calendar dating from 2023 to 2030, citing the cancellations of the 2025 tournament as "the perfect opportunity" to refresh the international game. The calendar confirmed the already arranged 2023 Tonga tour of England, and also announced a 2025 Lions and Lionesses tour of Australia (which will include the revival of The Ashes), 2027 Kiwi tour of England, 2028 Kangaroo tour of England, and a 2029 tour between England and an unconfirmed Pacific Nation.[1][5] The announcement also stated a 2024 Samoa tour of England would be likely (as this was already being discussed by the two nations). This was confirmed in June 2024.[17][18] The calendar also announced that the Women's Rugby League World Cup would be a stand alone event starting in 2028. In addition, there would be a renewed focus on regional tournaments to aid in developing lesser rugby league nations.[1][5] A later announcement confirmed the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup would also be a stand alone event starting in 2029.[19]

References

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  1. ^ a b c d "Southern hemisphere to host 2026 World Cup". BBC Sport. August 3, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Reduced Rugby League World Cup to take place in 2026". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b "2026 Rugby League World Cup to be hosted in southern hemisphere". The Independent. August 3, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Rugby League World Cup 2025 to be delayed; full details announced for new look tournament". LoveRugbyLeague. August 3, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Rugby League World Cup: Southern hemisphere to host tournament in 2026 after France withdrawal". Sky Sports. 3 August 2023.
  6. ^ "Rugby League World Cup moves to North America in 2025". stuff sport. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  7. ^ "North America to Host 2025 Rugby league World Cup". Canada Rugby League Association. 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  8. ^ Adrian Proszenko (4 December 2018). "US World Cup hosting plans torpedoed by money trouble". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  9. ^ "France to host 2025 World Cup". National Rugby League. 8 January 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  10. ^ Shaw, Matthew (2022-01-11). "French Prime Minister Jean Castex's pride after securing Rugby League World Cup". YorkshireLive. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  11. ^ "France set to host the 2025 Rugby League World Cups". Asia Pacific Rugby League. 2022-01-11. Archived from the original on 2022-01-27. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  12. ^ "France pulls out of hosting Rugby League World Cup". BBC Sport. 15 May 2023. Retrieved 15 May 2023.
  13. ^ "France no longer able to host 2025 Rugby League World Cup". seriousaboutrl.com. Retrieved 15 May 2023.
  14. ^ Bower, Aaron (15 May 2023). "2025 Rugby League World Cup in doubt after France pull out of staging event". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2023.
  15. ^ "France withdraw from hosting 2025 Rugby League World Cup over financial concerns". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  16. ^ "Confirmed: France will not host 2025 Rugby League World Cup". LoveRugbyLeague. 2023-05-15. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  17. ^ https://www.rugby-league.com/article/62852/england-to-play-samoa-in-autumn-test-series-
  18. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/articles/cxww982v9xro.amp
  19. ^ "International Rugby League Board confirms details for World Series, World Cups". Rugby League International Federation. Retrieved 2023-11-13.