2026 Rugby League World Cup in Australia: Details & Expectations

Rugby League Heading to Familiar Destination in 2026

The 2026 Rugby League World Cup is poised to take place in Australia, with the nation emerging as the frontrunner to host the prestigious international tournament. This development comes after France withdrew its bid last May, citing substantial financial pressures imposed by the French government.

The International Rugby League has been actively seeking bids from across the globe, with speculation that regions such as the Middle East had expressed interest at one stage. However, it now appears that Australia’s proposal is the one most likely to be selected as the host.

While the specific details are still being finalized, it is anticipated that the majority of the tournament, including the crucial stages, will be played within Australia. The possibility of including games in neighboring Pacific nations or New Zealand is also being considered, but the primary focus seems to be on hosting the event primarily in Australia.

The 2026 World Cup will feature concurrent men’s, women’s, and wheelchair competitions, mirroring the format of the 2022 edition. However, there has been some discontent over the reduction in the number of teams participating in the men’s tournament, down from 16 to just 10.

The eight quarter-finalists from the 2022 World Cup have already secured their spots, leaving only two remaining places available. These will be determined through a new World Series event scheduled to take place at the end of next season. This qualifying tournament will include teams from Jamaica, Cook Islands, South Africa, and the winners of a European qualifier featuring France, Serbia, Ukraine, and Wales.

As the Rugby League world eagerly awaits the 2026 World Cup, the selection of Australia as the likely host destination represents a return to a familiar and successful venue for the sport’s premier international event.

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