Speculation continues over international calendar

With the World Cup final approaching on Saturday, the make-up of the international calendar in years to come is still, as yet, unconfirmed.

What we do know, is that there will be another World Cup in four years time, with South Africa and a joint-bid from Australia and New Zealand going head to head for the right to host the tournament.

It is expected that there will be a Four Nations competition Down Under at the end of 2014, although the identity of the fourth team remains unknown.

It was thought that Fiji, thanks to their progress to a second successive World Cup semi-final, would take part, but at the post-match press conference following their defeat to Australia, it was suggested that an April test match against Samoa, the next best ranked Pacific Islands team, would decide who lines up against the big three next Autumn.

In the Northern Hemisphere, a European Cup featuring Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France is expected to take place, with the winner booking their place in the 2016 Four Nations.

In 2015, there are plans for the Great Britain side to return with a tour Down Under for an Ashes series, with England returning to the European Cup. That would mean the bottom-placed team in 2014 would make way and be without a competition in 2015.

A recurring theme of the World Cup has been the smaller nations calling for more games.

Internationals featuring the lesser nations have been sporadic, at best, even since the last World Cup.

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