The chance to play against England, Australia and New Zealand in the UK next year is the prize on offer for the winners of a tournament which kicks off on October 9, 2010 with matches in France and Scotland.
France, as official hosts for the 2010 rugbyleague.com European Cup, are also at home for their next two matches against Scotland (October 16) and Wales (October 23). All France’s matches will be broadcast live on French TV by Orange.
The rest of the itinerary sees Wales entertain Ireland on October 16 and Ireland take in Scotland a week later. The tournament will be run on a mini-league basis with the top team at the end of Week Three joining England, Australia and New Zealand in next year’s Four Nations.
“The stakes for matches involving these four nations has rarely been higher and I’m sure the chance to take on Australia, England and New Zealand will bring out the best in all the players involved in the rugbyleague.com European Cup,” said the RFL’s Director of Development Gary Tasker.
With home advantage for all three matches and a team drawn largely from players at Engage Super League club Catalans Dragons, many of whom will have benefited from recent international experience against England in the Gillette Fusion International in June, France will start the 2010 rugbyleague.com European Cup as favourites.
However as reigning European champions Wales will be strong contenders while Scotland and Ireland, both of whom played in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, will not want for motivation this autumn. Scotland, Wales and Ireland will each play one home match during the tournament.
Italy and Lebanon, who both took part in last year’s rugbyleague.com European Cup, will participate in the 2010 European Shield later this year.
Details of venues, squads and kick-off times for the 2010 rugbyleague.com European Cup will be announced in the next few months.
2010 rugbyleague.com European Cup schedule in full: