The next Rugby League World Cup, which was originally scheduled to take place in France in 2025, has been postponed by a year to 2026. The decision came after France withdrew from hosting the event due to concerns about potential financial losses. The International Rugby League (IRL) has now pushed the tournament back and is exploring the possibility of holding it in the southern hemisphere instead.
Australia and New Zealand are the frontrunners to take over as hosts for the postponed World Cup. Both countries have a strong rugby league tradition and have previously shown interest in hosting the tournament. New Zealand had offered to host the cup in 2025, but the IRL preferred to wait until 2026 to ensure the event’s success.
Additionally, the women’s Rugby League World Cup will become a standalone tournament from 2028 onwards, meaning it will be held at a different time than the men’s tournament.
The decision to postpone the World Cup and potentially change the host country is aimed at securing the best possible outcome for the tournament, ensuring it can be successful and continue to grow the sport of rugby league on the global stage. Further details on the new host and the tournament’s exact schedule will be announced by the IRL in due course.