Australia and New Zealand WITHDRAW from Rugby League World Cup in England amid coronavirus fears


Australia and New Zealand WITHDRAW from Rugby League World Cup in England with both nations calling for tournament to be POSTPONED amid coronavirus fears


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Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup in England this autumn and called for its postponement amid fears over coronavirus.

A joint statement from the two nations read: ‘The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) today informed the International Rugby League (IRL) and Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) organisers that Australia and New Zealand will not compete in a 2021 World Cup because of player welfare and safety concerns.

‘The ARLC and NZRL have again requested the RLWC2021 be postponed until 2022 to minimise risk of players contracting COVID-19 and ensure the best outcome for player well-being.’ 

Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from this autumn's Rugby League World Cup

Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from this autumn’s Rugby League World Cup

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters cited ‘stark differences’ between the management of the pandemic in the UK and Australasia and insisted it was ‘simply too unsafe’ for the teams to take part in the tournament.

He said: ‘There are stark differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia and recent developments have highlighted how quickly things can change.

‘The tournament organisers have moved heaven and earth to make this work, so it is not an easy decision, but the Covid-19 situation in the UK shows no sign of improving, and it’s simply too unsafe to send teams and staff over.’

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