The Rugby League World Cup which was scheduled to be played in 2025 has been moved to be staged in the Southern Hemisphere in 2026.
An International Rugby League (IRL) board meeting in Singapore has agreed to stage the tournament under a revised format as part of a new calendar for 2030 aimed at capitalising on the growth of the international game.
IRL chair Troy Grant said the 2026 Rugby League World Cup will feature 10 men’s, eight women’s and eight wheelchair teams.
The changes were made after France’s decision to withdraw as hosts of the previously scheduled 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
In addition, it has been decided that the following Women’s Rugby League World Cup, after RLWC2026, will be held as a stand-alone tournament in 2028.
The move recognises the rapid development of Women’s Rugby League since RLWC2017 and follows the success of the stand-alone FIFA Women’s World Cup currently played in Australia and New Zealand.
The cycle has also changed for the Men’s World Cup, with the next tournament after RLWC2026 to be played in 2030.
The IRL will work to determine where best to position the Wheelchair World Cup after RLWC2026.
A decision on the hosting rights for the 2026 Rugby League World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair tournaments, will be made by the end of this year.