May 04, 2021
With just six months remaining for the biggest Rugby League World Cup in history, organisers are working around the clock to make it an extravaganza event.
The World Cup for men, women alongside wheelchair athletes might draw teams from 21 nations - including several which are still struggling with COVID-19 in England from 23 October till 27 November.
32 teams from countries the United Kingdom, Europe, North, South and Central America, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean have qualified.
New Zealand Rugby League chief executive Greg Peters told Radio New Zealand the governing body was still committed to sending the Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns and a physically disabled rugby league team to the tournament but he understood if athletes had concerns.
Despite the organisers' optimism, Peters is aware of the realities associated with Covid-19 pandemic.
"We're not going ahead blindly as if we won't have any problems along the way, but at the moment our planning is that we'll be attending."
As the deputy chair of Asia-Pacific Rugby League, Peters was aware of what other qualified nations faced in the lead-up to the tournament and he highlighted the current Covid-19 situations in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Brazil and France as being of concern.
"It needs the time within the next six months for things to settle down quite a bit to give a bit more security to those teams and players that are going to the tournament and playing against those teams or being involved with them," Peters said.
NZRL would not require players to have a vaccine prior to the tournament.
By Romeka Romena