Netherlands pull off famous win over Serbia in rugby league international

International rugby league is set to hit new heights with 22 fixtures scheduled to take place across the globe over a nine-day period starting this weekend.

The surge in international activity involves men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams representing nations from the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East-Africa and Americas regions in IRL sanctioned matches from Saturday, October 28 to Sunday, November 5.

IRL Chair Troy Grant said the number of upcoming international matches was unprecedented outside of a World Cup and highlighted the increasing ambitions and capacity of member nations to help cultivate the game in their regions.

“International rugby league is the pinnacle of our sport, and it is great to see new rivalries, such as South Africa and Kenya or Ghana and Nigeria, being developed while traditional foes, such as Australia and New Zealand or England and France, add to their storied histories,” Grant said.

“There are senior international matches scheduled to be played in places as far flung as Athens, Berlin, Carcassone, Hamilton, Kingston, Lagos, Leeds, Melbourne, Port Moresby, Pretoria, Sandnes and Vrchlabi.

“This follows the creation of the international calendar until 2030, and a greater emphasis on Regional Championships and a new World Series as a path to World Cup qualification.”

Headlined by the Pacific Championships and Tonga’s historic series against England, there have been 15 international fixtures played so far in October with another 22 matches to be played up to and including November 5.

Among them are Saturday’s trans-Tasman double-header between Australia and New Zealand’s men’s and women’s teams, a re-match of November’s epic Wheelchair World Cup final between England and France, and the first women’s international between Nigeria and Ghana.

Senior International Matches: October 28-November 5

October 28

• Australia v New Zealand (women) – Melbourne

• Australia v New Zealand (men) – Melbourne

• Italy v South Africa (men) – Sydney

• Philippines v Malta (women) – Sydney

• Philippines v Malta (men) – Sydney

• England v Tonga (men) – Huddersfield

• Greece v Ukraine (men) – Athens

• Czechia v Netherlands (men) – Vrchlabi

October 29

• Papua New Guinea v Fiji (men) – Port Moresby

• France v Wales (women) – Carcassone

• Greece v Ukraine II (men) – Athens

November 1

• South Africa v Kenya (men) – Pretoria

November 3

• Nigeria v Ghana (women) – Lagos

November 4

• New Zealand v Australia – Hamilton

• England v Wales (women) – Leeds

• England v Tonga (men) – Leeds

• Germany v Poland (men) – Berlin

• Norway v Greece (men) – Sandnes

• South Africa v Kenya (men) – Pretoria

November 5

• Papua New Guinea v Fiji (men) – Port Moresby

• England v France (wheelchair) – Leeds

• Ghana v Nigeria (women) – Lagos

A further seven senior international fixtures have so far been announced for later in the year, while Jamaica’s match against USA, which had been scheduled for November 4 in Kingston, has been postponed.

Among the other matches are men’s and women’s fixtures between Uganda and Kenya in Kisumu and Kampala.

There will also be third women’s clash between Nigeria and Ghana in Accra and a return wheelchair match between England and France, while Serbia women will host Greece.