The draw for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup has been announced today, with the final to be played at Suncorp stadium on December 2, and a grand total of just two matches played in NSW for the entire tournament.
The opening game will be played in Melbourne, with England and co-hosts Australia to face off at AAMI Park on October 27.
While ANZ and Pirtek stadiums are set to be out of commission during the tournament due to redevelopment work, the SFS will host just two matches – England vs Lebanon on November 4n and Australia vs Lebanon on November 11.
No matches have been scheduled for any other NSW venues, meaning Sydney’s north, south and west will miss out, as do Wollongong and Newcastle.
Games are widely spread however, set to be played throughout Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Chief Executive Officer for World Cup 2017 Michael Brown said that the aim of the tournament is to reach farther and wider than any World Cup before it.
“The decision to take matches to places like Darwin, Perth, Christchurch and Port Moresby were made with the future of the game in mind,” said Brown.
“From established rugby league communities, to those new and emerging fan-bases in all three countries.”
All matches are set to take place over weekends to encourage larger crowds, while there will be three double-headers held – one at each of Cairns, Perth and Townsville.
The decision for Papua New Guinea to become a third host of the tournament was made back in 2015, with rugby league being the country’s national sport, the only nation in the world where that is the case.
Although the draw has been made, fixtures set, and stadiums booked, there are still three spots yet to be filled for the pool stages.
A European qualifying tournament will be held across October and November of this year to decide who will join the 11 nations already preparing for the tournament.
Co-hosts New Zealand and Australia are set to receive home quarter and semi-finals, although if they happen to cross paths in that situation, then the highest-placed side through the pool stages gets hosting rights.
Rugby League World Cup 2017 tournament draw
*Kick off times to be announced ahead of tournament
Date Match type Match-up Venue 27/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 Australia vs England Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 28/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 PNG v Euro Q1 Port Moresby (venue TBA) 28/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 New Zealand vs Samoa Mt Smart, Auckland 28/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 Fiji vs USA Townsville Stadium 29/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 Scotland vs Tonga Barlow Park, Cairns 29/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 Euro Q2 vs Euro Q3 Barlow Park, Cairns 29/10/2017 Pool - Round 1 France vs Lebanon Canberra Stadium 3/11/2017 Pool - Round 2 Australia vs France Canberra Stadium 4/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 New Zealand vs Scotland Christchurch Stadium 4/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 Samoa vs Tonga Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 4/11/2017 Pool - Round 2 England vs Lebanon Sydney Football Stadium 5/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 PNG vs Euro Q2 Port Moresby (venue TBA) 5/11/2017 Pool - Round 2 Euro Q3 vs USA Townsville Stadium 5/11/2017 Pool - Round 2 Fiji vs Euro Q1 Townsville Stadium 10/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Fiji vs Euro Q3 Canberra Stadium 11/11/2017 Pool - Round 3 Samoa vs Scotland Barlow Park, Cairns 11/11/2017 Pool - Round 3 New Zealand vs Tonga Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 11/11/2017 Pool - Round 3 Australia vs Lebanon Sydney Football Stadium 12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 PNG vs USA Port Moresby (venue TBA) 12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Euro Q1 vs Euro Q2 Perth Rectangular Stadium 12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 England vs France Perth Rectangular Stadium 17/11/2017 Quarter-final Darwin Stadium 18/11/2017 Quarter-final Christchurch Stadium 18/11/2017 Quarter-final Wellington Regional Stadium 19/11/2017 Quarter-final Melbourne Rectangular Stadium 24/11/2017 Semi-final Brisbane Stadium 25/11/2017 Semi-final Mt Smart, Auckland 2/12/2017 Final Brisbane Stadium