Full qualification process for 2025 World Cup in France set out – TotalRL.com | Rugby League Express

The International Rugby League (IRL) has set the qualification process for the 2025 World Cup, including the first-ever qualifiers for the women’s tournament.

The men’s World Cup, like this year, will feature 16 teams, with nine automatically qualifying (hosts France plus quarter-finalists Australia, England, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga).

Of the remaining seven slots, four are European countries, two belong to the Americas and one is determined by an inter-regional repechage.

The European Championship will determine the four qualifiers from that continent, with two groups playing in 2023 – Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Spain and Wales will take part in one of the World Cups, while those missing out on that will, in 2024, with the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Ukraine. There is another chance in the qualifiers with the nations ahead next year from another group consisting of

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The two Americas qualifiers will be decided by the 2023 Americas Championship, with Brazil – last month’s South American Championship – beating Chile and Colombia in Canada, Jamaica and the USA.

And in 2024, the Cook Islands will play the winners of the 2023 Middle East Africa (MEA) Cup between Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa for the final spot in the World Cup.

For the women’s tournament, a qualification process will take place for the first time, before expanding from eight teams to 16 in 2025.

The eight qualifiers – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cook Islands, England, France, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – will join this year’s eight World Cup participants.

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Four of these come from Europe, where Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Serbia, Turkey and Wales will compete in two qualifying groups in 2023, with the top two teams from each group qualifying.

One team from the Asia Pacific region will qualify to play in 2024, along with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

One will also progress from the Americas, fighting Chile, Jamaica and the USA in 2024, and one in the MEA region where Cameroon, Ghana, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa will also compete in 2024.

There will be no qualification for the wheelchair tournament in 2025, however, and an interest and invitation process will be used to decide who will play in France.

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IRL Chair Troy Grant said: “We now look forward to France 2025 and there are enormous opportunities to continue the growth of international rugby league over the next three years, with qualifying tournaments in every region of the world.

“After a difficult last few years due to Covid and travel restrictions, the opportunities for international rugby league have never been greater as we prepare for the biggest and most ambitious World Cup in France in 2025.”


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