Rugby League World Cup

International Rugby League is pleased to announce that 22 Expressions of Interest (EOIs) have been received to host IRL Rugby League World Cups from 2026 to 2030.

The IRL Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle of the game and 11 countries representing all four IRL regions – Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East Africa – have submitted EOIs for:

• 2026 IRL Men’s, Women’s, Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup

• 2028 IRL Women’s Rugby League World Cup

• 2029 IRL Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup

• 2030 IRL Men’s Rugby League World Cup

A number of nations have submitted EOIs for more than one Rugby League World Cup, with the 2028 Women’s World Cup proving to be the most popular tournament.

The IRL has received eight EOIs to host the Women’s World Cup in 2028, highlighting the growth and importance of the women’s game. There are five countries interested in hosting the 2029 Wheelchair World Cup, while seven have nominated for the 2030 Men’s World Cup.

In addition, two EOIs have been submitted for the 2026 IRL World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere, which was advertised internally after the withdrawal of France 2025.

Details of the bids to host a 10-team Men’s World Cup and eight team Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups in 2026 will be announced after the confirmation of tenderers on November 24, 2023.

IRL Chair Troy Grant said: “The IRL Board made the decision in July that future Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups would be staged as stand-alone events after RLWC2026 and the level of interest in hosting those tournaments confirms that was the right decision.

“The response to the ITT [Invitation to Tender] process also underlines the strategic approach behind the IRL Board’s decision to reduce the size of the World Cup finals in order to cultivate more host countries, which will make rugby league a more global sport and the World Cups more accessible events.

“It is one of the many benefits of the international calendar that the IRL is able to schedule three World Cups in three years to provide more countries with an opportunity to host one or more of the game’s flagship tournaments.”

The deadline for confirmation of tenderers for the 2028, 2029 and 2030 IRL Rugby League World Cups is February 16, 2024. Details of the bidding nations for each tournament will then be announced.