Australia and New Zealand withdraw from England Rugby League World Cup over coronavirus fears

Australia and New Zealand withdrew from the Rugby League World Cup in England amid coronavirus fears…both countries are calling for the fall tournament to be postponed just days after Boris Johnson posed with the trophy

  • Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup
  • Both countries have called for a delay over coronavirus fears
  • NZRL chief executive Greg Peters insisted it was ‘just too unsafe’ for the teams to take part in the tournament in England

Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup in England this fall and have called for a postponement over fears of the coronavirus.

A joint statement from the two countries read: ‘The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) today informed the organizers of the International Rugby League (IRL) and Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) that Australia and New Zealand will not participate in a 2021 World Cup due to concerns about player welfare and safety.

“The ARLC and NZRL have again requested that the RLWC2021 be postponed to 2022 in order to minimize the risk of players contracting COVID-19 and ensure the best outcome for the player’s well-being.”

Reigning champions Australia (pictured) and New Zealand have withdrawn from this autumn’s World Cup in England over fears of the coronavirus

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters called “big differences” between the management of the pandemic in the UK and Australasia and stressed it was “just too unsafe” for the teams to participate in the tournament.

He said: ‘There are big differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia and recent developments have shown how quickly things can change.

“The tournament organizers have moved heaven and earth to make this work so it’s not an easy decision but the Covid-19 situation in the UK is showing no signs of improving and it’s just too unsafe for teams and staff to be involved.” to steer.’

As reported by Sportsmail earlier this month, Australia threatened to undermine the credibility of the tournament by sending a reserve team.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses outside Downing Street next to the Rugby League World Cup

Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses outside Downing Street next to the Rugby League World Cup

There has been resistance from Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) clubs, who have called for the competition to be postponed until next year as Covid-19 quarantine rules require players to return two weeks before test matches for the 2022 season begin. to their clubs.

With Australia’s borders currently closed, anyone returning to the country from abroad must spend 14 days in government-run quarantine.

Players are required to take a mandatory six-week rest break after quarantine, which impacts the new campaign by essentially wiping out the pre-season.

But now two of the tournament’s biggest teams have pulled the plug just months before it’s held in England.

The 16-team World Cup for men kicks off on October 23 with the final at Old Trafford in Manchester on November 27.

More to follow

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