The Rugby League International Federation has announced the draw for the third Emerging Nations World Championships, which will take place across three Sydney venues, starting on 1 October, 2018
The previous competitions were held in 1995 and 2000, both in England.
Eleven individual nations will take part – the highest number to date – drawn from Europe, Asia and the Pacific, split in three pools, with the finals being played on Sunday 13 October at St Mary’s Leagues Club.
The countries have been placed into two pools of three teams and one of five, based on their current world ranking.
The top two nations from Pools A and B will contest the World Championship, whilst those in Pool C will compete alongside the ones eliminated from the Championship for the Trophy and Bowl competitions, thereby giving every side four games.
Head of the ENWC organising committee, Tas Baitieri, commented: “We have specifically grouped the nations according to their experience so that all players can enjoy great competition at the correct level and with proper regard for their welfare. I would like to thank the Rugby League International Federation for their support of this great festival of Rugby League.”
Greece, Hungary, Malta Knights, Poland and Turkey – the latter two in their first full international matches - come from Europe; Hong Kong Thunder, Japan Samurais and Philippines Tamaraws represent Asia, and Niue, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are the Pacific participants.
“Seeing this array of nations from across much of the globe competing in a rugby league championship shows the vibrancy of the international game,” said RLIF CEO Nigel Wood.
“One of the RLIF’s strategic aims is to continue to grow the sport as the demand for it increases, and as these nations continue to develop so will their domestic leagues. I have no doubt many will eventually take their place in qualifications for future Rugby League World Cups.”
The Emerging Nations World Championships will also include a regional confederations element that is set to complete the global coverage, and a tournament for those with a physical disability. Full details of both those events will follow.
The full draw for the Emerging Nations World Championships is below:
Emerging Nations World Championships
POOL A Malta PhilippinesNiue
POOL B Hungary Greece Vanuatu
POOL C Japan Solomon Islands Hong Kong Poland Turkey
Mon 1 Oct, 2018 Pool A Windsor Malta V Philippines 2pm
Mon 1 Oct, 2018 Pool C Windsor Solomon Islands V Turkey 3.30pm
Mon 1 Oct, 2018 Pool B Windsor Hungary V Greece 5pm
Thurs 4 Oct, 2018 Pool A St Marys Malta V Niue 1.30pm
Thurs 4 Oct, 2018 Pool C St Marys Japan V Turkey 3pm
Thurs 4 Oct, 2018 Pool C St Marys Hong Kong V Poland 4.30pm
Thurs 4 Oct, 2018 Pool B St Marys Hungary V Vanuatu 6pm
Sun 7 Oct, 2018 Pool A Cabramatta Philippines V Niue 1.30pm
Sun 7 Oct, 2018 Pool C Cabramatta Solomon islands V Hong Kong 3pm
Sun 7 Oct, 2018 Pool C Cabramatta Japan V Poland 4.30pm
Sun 7 Oct, 2018 Pool B Cabramatta Greece V Vanuatu 6pm
Tues 9 Oct, 2018 Bowl Cabramatta 3rd Pool C V 5th Pool C 5.00pm
Wed 10 Oct, 2018 SFC1 Cabramatta 1st Pool A V 2nd Pool B 1.30pm
Wed 10 Oct, 2018 SFC2 Cabramatta 1st Pool B V 2nd Pool A 3pm
Wed 10 Oct, 2018 SFT1 Cabramatta 3rd Pool A V 2nd Pool C 4.30pm
Wed 10 Oct, 2018 SFT2 Cabramatta 3rd Pool B V 1st Pool C 6pm
Thurs 11 Oct, 2018 Bowl Cabramatta 4th Pool C V 5th Pool C 5.00pm
Sat 13 Oct 2018 Bowl St Marys 3rd Pool C V 4th Pool C 12pm
Sat 13 Oct 2018 7th vs 8th Play Off St Marys LOSER Game 15 V LOSER Game 16 1.30pm
Sat 13 Oct 2018 5th & 6th GF Trophy St Marys WINNER Game 15 V WINNER Game 16 3pm
Sat 13 Oct 2018 3rd vs 4th Play Off St Marys LOSER Game 13 V LOSER Game 14 4.30pm
Sat 13 Oct 2018 1st & 2nd GF Cup St Marys WINNER Game 13 V WINNER Game 14 6pm