Aotearoa Rugby League big dogs are keen to host the next Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) and would love it if they could co-host with a Pacific Island or two (and Australia).
France was set to host the 2025 tournament but had to pull out because they couldn’t afford it. New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) head honcho Greg Peters told Newshub he’s down for Aotearoa to play host and reckons Australia and, more importantly, a Pacific Island nation or two could have games played on their soil.
"We are exploring the possibility of a Southern Hemisphere RLWC as an alternative to France 2025," he said. "We're keen to work with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) to host the tournament in NZ and Australia and have started the conversations.”
Greg added hosting the RLWC in our part of the world would be an awesome opportunity to have big-profile games in the passionate rugby league fan bases of the Pacific islands.
"Bringing the international tournament down under is an exciting proposition not only for the fans but our Indigenous and Pasifika communities. It’s entirely possible that I might play games around the Pacific.”
“There's no reason why we can't extend that and take, for example, the Tonga and Samoa teams back to their home fanbases. That would be pretty special,” he added.
The last RLWC was in 2022, in England, and anyone living in Auckland remembers how much the Samoan fans got behind their time during their historic run to the final. Them being able to cheer their team on at home would be incredible and so good for the sport.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson even got behind the team, sending them a message of support days before they played the final against Australia.
“I am delivering this message with boundless love and boundless reverence and respect and boundless pride,” he said to start the message. “For my boys, my usos. Toa Samoa rugby team, they are going to the men’s final of the Rugby League World Cup.”
Manu Samoa vs Australia, 2022 finals rematch, this time at Apia Park - let's make it happen.