The sport of rugby league is set to enter new territory this weekend as the inaugural Rugby League World Cup Nines tournament gets underway at Bankwest Stadium.
The competition will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 18-19, featuring men and women.
The men’s has 12 teams set to compete while four women’s nations will go to battle in Parramatta’s brand new stadium.
So in the build-up to rugby league’s new showpiece event, we take a look through which teams are set to participate while taking a glance at the format and specific rules of a competition that is set to be a fantastic spectacle from start to finish.
The 12 men’s teams will be split into three groups of four with Pool A consisting of two juggernauts in Australia and New Zealand alongside Papua New Guinea and the USA, while England and Wales are set to clash in Pool B with both France and Lebanon. In an all Pacific-Island group, Pool C features Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Cook Islands.
As for the Women’s affair the four teams will consist of England, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. This new and exciting edition to the rugby league spectrum will also see all players from both men’s and women’s teams receive the equal pay of $2,000 from the competition’s organisers.
Structure and fixtures
The tournament will be spread out across the Friday and Saturday and sees each team playing the others in their respective group once, with the top two in Pool A and the leading teams of both Pool B and C set to make their way into the semi finals of the men’s event while the top two of the Women’s will go straight to the final.
Friday, October 18
France v Lebanon (8.20am GMT)
6.45pm – England v Papua New Guinea (Women) (8.45am)
7.10pm – England v Wales (9.10am)
7.35pm – Tonga v Cook Islands (9.35am)
8.10pm – Samoa v Fiji (10.10am)
8.35pm – Australia v New Zealand (Women) (10.35am)
9.00pm – Australia v New Zealand (11.00am)
9.25pm – Papua New Guinea v USA (11.25am)
Saturday, October 19
11.30am – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea (Women) (1.30am GMT)
11.55am – France v Wales (1.55am)
12.20pm – England v Lebanon (2.20am)
12.45pm – Samoa v Cook Islands (2.45am)
1.10pm – Tonga v Fiji (3.10am)
1.45pm – New Zealand v Papua New Guinea (3.45am)
2.10pm – Australia v USA (4.10am)
2.35pm – Australia v England (Women) (4.35am)
3.00pm – Lebanon v Wales (5.00am)
3.25pm – England v France (5.25am)
4.00pm – Fiji v Cook Islands (6.00am)
4.25pm – Tonga v Samoa (6.25am)
4.50pm – New Zealand v USA (6.50am)
5.15pm – Australia v Papua New Guinea (7.15am)
5.40pm – Australia v Papua New Guinea (Women) (7.40am)
6.05pm – New Zealand v England (Women) (8.05am)
6.55pm – Men’s Semi-final (8.55am)
7.20pm – Men’s semi-final (9.20am)
7.45pm – Women’s final (Women) (9.45am)
9.00pm – Men’s final (11.00am)
Each game will be under the provision of the normal rules of the game of rugby league with a few extra editions included:
- Each game is played with two halves of nine minutes
- Interchanges are unlimited
- There tackle sets are now five instead of the usual six
- Seeing as it is only nine minutes each half, sin-bins will be three minutes rather then 10
- Drop kick conversions with a 25-second shot clock
- There will be five point bonus try given if a team scores in the bonus zone under the posts
- If a match is a draw at the end of regular time, the game is decided by golden try
- Alongside 40/20 kicks there will also be 20/40 kicks introduced
Now, this is definitely not the first time we have seen the Nines format in the realms of rugby league with the most recent case being that of the Auckland nines that ran between 2014 and 2017, while before that there was the Super League World Nines that was held during the pre-season in 1996 and 1997 between international sides.
However, this weekend’s inclusion looks to be the biggest series of the format so far and with plenty of Super League and NRL stars on show, it is set to be two days of great and exciting rugby league nines action.