Following the completion of the men’s, women’s and wheelchair Rugby League World Cup finals, European Rugby League has sent its congratulations and thanks to the RLWC2021 board, together with CEO Jon Dutton and his colleagues, for the successful delivery of the three competitions.
“On behalf of everyone in European Rugby League, I would like to send my congratulations to all associated with the staging of Rugby League World Cup 2021,” said ERL chair, Dean Andrew OBE. “For six weeks the three tournaments have captured our interest, imagination and hearts and reminded us of how important the international game is. We’ve seen record TV viewing figures and social media engagement, record crowds for the women’s and wheelchair tournaments, and thousands of new fans introduced to the game around the world.”
For European Rugby League, the momentum gained by the World Cup continues as the attention shifts towards the 2025 competition which will be played in France.
Qualification for European men began in 2021 and is set to continue in 2023 when eight nations - England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Spain and Wales - contest the European Championships (Euro A), while Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway and Ukraine will meet in Euro B for the right to progress to the final qualifying tournament in 2024, with fixtures already announced.
Following the success of the inaugural women’s Euro B competition in 2022, a record number of nations will contest the 2025 Rugby League World Cup qualifying tournament in 2023 to secure one of the four remaining berths for European teams, and ERL is also putting the final touches to its plans for its Wheelchair European Championships.
At youth level, the biennial European U19s Championships will return in 2024, with any qualifying games required taking part in 2023.
In the Middle East Africa and Americas regions, both under the jurisdiction of ERL, 2023 will see the final stages of qualifying take place for the men whilst the women’s qualifying is set to take place in 2024 in both regions.
On top of formal competitions, there will be several bi-laterally arranged Test matches, with England and France having already announced fixtures against each other for their men’s and women’s teams in April 2023.
“We’ve already announced the fixtures for the men’s Euro B and further timing confirmations for the other competitions are imminent,” added Andrew. “The appetite for the international game is huge and I’m pleased that European Rugby League is able to have its short term calendar in place as we build towards the next global event, also in the northern hemisphere, in 2025.”