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The 15th edition of the Rugby League World Cup will bring 300+ of the world’s best players down under this October. Here’s 3 reasons why it’s a must see!
With what you might call a sporadic cycle, the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) gives us punters a rare chance to see League talent from all over the globe up close. Aside from the occasional international test at home, we rarely get to see stars of the UK Super League or Europe’s premier competitions on our shores. With a competition cycle that can vary anywhere between 2 – 8 years apart, there’s no telling when or if you’ll get to see players such as Remi Casty take the field again.
The 2017 RLWC will also be the international swansong of Rugby League legends such as Johnathan Thurston, and possibly Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith. And we can’t forget Terry Campese. The former Australian international and Canberra Raider will lace up his boots once more when he runs out for the Italian Azzurri, alongside the electric James Tedesco.
If star players don’t have you convinced, then the opportunity to watch unheralded names from the likes of Papua New Guinea and U.S.A should. Their raw talent, differing playing style, and blistering pace will make for exciting matchups against heavyweights Australia and New Zealand.
The first RLWC consisted of just 4 teams and was held back in 1954, in France of all places. There have been 14 tournaments since then, with just three nations claiming the title (Australia 10 times, Great Britain three times and New Zealand once). The 2017 edition is a slightly different beast, and will be hosted across three nations (Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand) for the first time in history. With 14 teams playing in a total of 28 matches over 5 weeks, across 13 cities, this will without a doubt be the biggest RLWC yet!
Teams come from afar afield as Italy, the U.S.A, and Lebanon (who are currently coached by none other than Brad Fittler). So it go’s without saying that this is a great chance to experience a brilliant mix of cultures in our own backyard, and see how Rugby League is developing around the globe. The beauty of having three host nations also means you can travel as little, or as much as you would like. You could opt to follow the Kangaroos through Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, perhaps over to NZ for a quarter final, and then hopefully to Brisbane for the Final. Or you could decide you want to stay put in Canberra, and watch Australia, France, Fiji, Italy, and Lebanon battle through the pool stages. You could even pop over to Port Moresby for match, or take in Australia v England at the curtain raiser in Melbourne. It’s up to you!