Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2021 Rugby League World Cup Expands

By Elie Mpovie

As qualifiers for the final spots of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England are being contested, the organizers of the tournament have finally decided to with a sixteen team format, this was last used in 2000. There will be four groups with four teams each and the top to of each group will advance to a proper single elimination bracket.

The last sixteen team World Cup was held in 2000 in Great Britain. Previous formats were, a ten team tournament held in 1995, a five team format that was stretched during a three to four year period from 1985-88 and 1989-92. There’s also been a five team competition in 1975, the original four team tournament was played from 1954 to 1972 and 1977.

This change of the format came after the 2017 tournament when Ireland, who had more wins, were eliminated from the group stage instead rather than Samoa and host nation New Zealand. Both were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Australia and Fiji respectively. The fourteen team system used in 2013 and in 2017 was comprised of four groups, A and B had four teams each while C and D had three teams each with one crossover match played.

Oddly the top three teams in groups A and B would qualify for the quarterfinals while groups C and D had only one team each moving on to the knockout phase.

For the 2021 tournament, the last final three teams from the 2017 finals and top four of the current World Rankings (Australia, England, New Zealand and Tonga) are in the First pot and will headline each group. The fate of the rest of the team's will
be decided soon.

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