Women’s league World Cup set


PAPUA New Guinea will compete at the inaugural Women’s Rugby League World Cup next year in Sydney.
The tournament will involve six countries, with host Australia, New Zealand and PNG automatic qualifiers, along with England and Canada — the only other countries with active women’s rugby league competitions.
The final team will come from either Fiji, Tonga, Samoa or the Cook Islands following the Pacific Qualifying Series to be played at St Mary’s in Western Sydney during October 2016.
The draw for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 will be announced following the Pacific qualifying series.
The Organising Committee (OC) made the announcement yesterday saying the historical event would run concurrently with the men’s tournament. With NSW Government funding, Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 pool matches and semifinals will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium, the home of NRL premiership team the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, from November 16 next year, with both the women’s and men’s finals played as a double-header at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Dec 2, 2017.
PNG Rugby Football League chief executive officer Bob Cutmore said a women’s representative side had already been picked after last month’s national zone championships in Lae.
“We’ve got a team selected from the national zone championships last month but we’ll pick a larger squad probably made up of 40 women next February like we’re doing with the men and then trim it down to a final 22,” Cutmore said.
Despite having their expenses in Australia taken cared of by the NSW government, Cutmore said the Raggianas squad and officials would need to be funded locally to pay for their airfares to Sydney and back as well as the payments for the players and staff.
“The NSW state government will cover all participating teams’ costs at the tournament we’ll still have to fund some money to get 22 women and eight officials down there and back.”
RLWC2017 chief executive officer, Andrew Hill, said the historic announcement for international rugby league provided the women’s game with the perfect platform to demonstrate their world-class prowess.
“It has always been the board’s vision to have the Women’s Rugby
League World Cup played concurrently with the men’s tournament and through the strong support of the NSW Government, we have been able to create what is a milestone moment for the sport,” Hill said. “To have both the women’s and men’s finals played on the same day, at the same venue will conclude what will be the greatest Rugby League World Cup.”
NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said women’s international rugby league continued to go from strength to strength.

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