Australia and NZ withdraw from RLWC
July 22, 2021 7:16 pm
Australia after winning the Rugby League World Cup [Source: The Guardian]
The 2021 Rugby League World Cup has suffered a major blow as the defending champion Australia and the number two side New Zealand have officially withdrawn from the tournament in the UK in October.
A joint statement released this evening by the Australian Rugby League Commission and New Zealand Rugby League said they had informed the International Rugby League and Rugby League World Cup organizers neither will compete in a 2021 World Cup because of player welfare and safety concerns.
Organizers said earlier this month the tournament will go ahead as planned in October despite Covid-19 still posing an issue in the UK.
Recently RLWC 2021 Chief Executive, Jon Dutton said they’ll pay return flights for teams from the southern hemisphere which includes the Fiji Bati.
Fiji National Rugby League Acting Chief Executive, Don Natabe earlier said while they remain optimistic of the scheduled World Cup, they’re aware that the future situation can just change overnight and they’re well placed to anticipate any changes from now until the departure date.
This year’s tournament was scheduled to kick-off on October 23 with England facing Samoa.