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2021 World Cup Draw

January 10, 2020

With less than a week to go here is the pot in which Rugby league Ireland will be drawn from, HRH The Duke of Sussex will host the RLWC2021 draws for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournament’s at Buckingham Palace on 16 January.

Each draw will be streamed live across RLWC2021 and The Royal Family’s Twitter and Facebook channels* and will be attended by representatives from all 21 nations taking part across each tournament.

The draws, which will take place at Buckingham Palace, will see 16 men’s, eight women’s and eight wheelchair nations drawn into their respective groups for the event, which kicks off with the men’s opening ceremony on 23 October 2021 at St James’ Park, Newcastle. The draw will reveal the opening fixtures for each tournament, which will include the host nation England.

Fixtures will be held in world-class venues across the country, the Emirates Stadium, London, the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London and Anfield, Liverpool, culminating with a double-header men’s and women’s final at Old Trafford, Manchester.

The tournament is the pinnacle event for rugby league and RLWC2021 will be a landmark event for the sport with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments set to be held simultaneously for the first time.

How the draw will work

For 2013 and 2017 tournaments, the system included what some termed “super pools”. Three teams each from two pools qualified for the final eight last year, with the winners of the other two pools also progressing.  

The super pools were intended to provide more high profile matches in the round robin stage of the World Cup. Taking your memory back to 2017, Rugby League Ireland fell victim of having lost a close and physical match to PNG missing qualification to the knockout stages despite finishing second in the group and winning 2 out of 3 games.

In talking about World Cups in any sport, we often focus on pools. But in preparing for England 2021, the stage we’re at now involves “pots”, not pools.

The first pot are the four seeded nations - Australia, England, New Zealand and Tonga. All quarter-finalists for 2017 qualified automatically for 2021 meaning Samoa, PNG, Fiji and Lebanon are in pot two. 

The third pot will include qualifiers Wales, France and Jamaica along with the next highest ranking qualifier from Europe. Finally, pot four will be made up of the lowest ranked European qualifiers which will be IRELAND and the winners of the world play-off final that will feature the United States playing against the Cook Islands.

A team from pots two, three and four will be pulled out at random to form a group along with the seeded teams who will be pre allocated to their groups. So the opening game of the tournament will feature England, but this time not against the Australians.

It is anticipated that their opponents will come from pot two so that means Wayne Bennett’s men against Samoa, PNG, Fiji or Lebanon. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the knock-out stages unlike the qualification process for the last two tournaments.

Although the process is slightly changed and taking on a more traditional approach, Ireland will face a tough task but based on recent performances, the average age of Stuart Littlers squad and the standard of club rugby our players are playing at no challenge will be too much! 

All information is courtesy of rlwc2021.com, for more information on the 2021 World Cup and events please check out their website

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