14 Countries will participate in the 15 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) Tournament across 13 cities in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
It is now approximately three days before the 2017 RLWC tournament commences and preparations have been well underway in the three countries that will co-host the world event.
This is the 15 RLWC Tournament since its birth in 1954 when only Australia, New Zealand, France and Great Britain featured in a tournament that celebrated the 20th anniversary of France as a Rugby League nation.
Thanks to authorities, the 2017 RLWC Official squads for all 14 nations had been finalised and saw a total of 334 players chosen to represent their countries, with Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Tonga and Wales each naming maximum 24-man squads and United States and Papua New Guinea selecting 23 players.
Players have been drawn from the NRL, NSW Cup, Queensland Cup, Super League, English Championship and League One, Fiji National Rugby League, France’s Elite One Championship, USARL, Lebanon Championship, Italian Serie A, All-Ireland League and local Canberra, Cairns, Illawarra, Newcastle and NSW Country Group 6, Group 7 South Coast and Group 20 competitions.
For PNG, to host three World-Cup pool matches is a first-time experience for the island nation that surely will go down in the history books of Rugby League World Cup. History repeats, but on PNG’s soil, the PNG Kumuls will take on its old rival Wales on Saturday 28 October at the National Football Stadium on the second match of the tournament. Ranked 15 in the world, PNG has played its first world cup in 1985 and has so far participated in six RLWC tournaments. PNG is yet to win at a tournament of the world’s best rugby teams, but hopes are very high for this tournament as rugby league has over the years, proven to become the sport Papua New Guineans favour.
PNG’s match against Wales is a historic match according to many who followed RLWC tournaments. Though, PNG suffered three defeats from Wales in the years 1991, 2000 and 2007; it would not want another defeat in the coming match. PNG is expected to give the Welsh team a very strong opposition on its home soil.
Image Source: RLWC2017