WORDS: LORRAINE MARSDEN

The 2017 Women’s World Cup will consist of two pools of three teams, with England joining Australia and the Cook Islands in Pool A and New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Canada contesting Pool B.

But there are some noticeable teams absent from the line-up, including France, who competed in the last tournament in 2013.

After giving England some tough tests in recent years many will be surprised to see them missing from the line-up.

“Nations were invited to express interest in whether they wished to be considered as a participant for the tournament,” explained David Collier, chief executive of the Rugby League International Federation.

“Quite simply France were one of the nations who did not express an interest before the due date. Although under their new leadership it is clear that France would wish to be considered for 2021.”

Tonga, Samoa and Fiji were interested in taking part and as there are no rankings within the women’s game, the RLIF agreed to host a play-off contest to see who would feature in the tournament.

The Cook Islands qualified by default after the other interested nations could not raise a team to compete in the qualifying tournament.

This gained some negative press in the southern hemisphere but the World Cup organisers are not letting this detract from what props to be a landmark event for Women’s Rugby League.

“In Australia and other parts of the Pacific, female participation in all forms is the fastest growing category in the game and next year’s Women’s World Cup marks an important step forward in the professionalisation of Women’s Rugby League,” added Rugby League World Cup 2017 chief executive, Andrew Hill.

“The Rugby League World Cup 2017 Organising Committee is working hard to deliver a Women’s Rugby League World Cup that sets a new benchmark for the tournament, and inspires further growth in both grassroots participation and the elite form of the game.”

POOL A

Australia; England; Cook Islands

POOL B

New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Canada

FIXTURES

Thursday November 16, 2017

New Zealand v Canada; England v Papua New Guinea; Australia v Cook Islands

Sunday November 19, 2017

Papua New Guinea v Canada; New Zealand v Cook Islands; Australia v England

Wednesday November 22, 2017

England v Cook Islands; Australia v Canada; New Zealand v Papua New Guinea

all at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla

SEMI-FINALS

Sunday November 26, 2017

1st Pool B v 2nd Pool A; 1st Pool A v 2nd Pool B

all at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla

FINAL

Saturday December 2, 2016 – at Brisbane Stadium

Winner Semi-Final 1 v Winner Semi-Final 2

 

This article is featured in January’s Rugby League World, available now

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