Video: World Cup emergency – what happens next?

Drew Darbyshire

Damien Cook of the Kangaroos makes a break to score a try during the Oceania Cup Test Match between Australia and New Zealand at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Friday, October 25, 2019

Editors James Gordon and Drew Darbyshire have had their say on Australia and New Zealand’s withdrawal from this autumn’s World Cup – and they are both in agreement for once!

It was announced on Thursday morning that holders Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of participating in this year’s World Cup, which is due to get underway in England on October 23, with the hosts taking on Samoa at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

PULL OUTS: Australia and New Zealand pull out of World Cup

The ARLC and NZRL have called for the tournament to be postponed until 2022, with their announcement putting the tournament in serious doubt.

Love Rugby League editors James and Drew went live on Facebook shortly after the news broke, and were both in agreement that the tournament shouldn’t go ahead with the Kangaroos and Kiwis.

James said: “In my opinion we just can’t have the World Cup without Australia and New Zealand, no way.

“There’s four countries in the entire world that have professional clubs – Australia, New Zealand, England and France. You can’t have the two of the three or four biggest nations not in the World Cup.

“Also, the thing for me is people saying ‘play on’ but if there is an issue in releasing Australia and New Zealand players for player welfare issues, then the NRL aren’t going to release players to play for Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and even England. I just don’t see how the World Cup can go on.”

Drew added: “There aren’t many times I agree with you James but on this occasion I do!

“I think it is impossible for it to happen without the two main teams. Everyone wants to watch the Kangaroos. When I was growing up I always wanted to watch the Kangaroos whenever they were over here. It is tradition because everyone wants to see the best players in action but I don’t see how it can go ahead.

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“I’ve seen a couple of people say ‘why can’t we have Super League-based Australian and New Zealand teams?’ but I think that would take away from what the tournament is. The World Cup is meant to be the pinnacle, with the best players from the best teams going at it. If you had a second string side playing then I don’t think it would be good for the tournament. And then if England went on to win it, would they really feel like they had won the World Cup?

“I’m gutted we are having this farcical discussion at this point in the year that we won’t have two of the best teams participating.”

What are your thoughts? Should the World Cup go ahead without Australia and New Zealand? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.