TORONTO — Canada has been confirmed as one of eight women’s teams in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The other participants are host England, defending champion Australia, Brazil, the Cook Islands, France, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The World Cup, which will feature men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions, will run Oct. 23 to Nov. 21 in 2021. The tournament draw is scheduled for November.
The eight women’s participants were chosen by the sport’s world governing body.
“With the growth of the game globally, and increased competition for places at this landmark event, it really shows the strong position Canada is in on the world stage of rugby league,” Thomas Hughes, the Canada Rugby League Association’s director of rugby, said in a statement.
The men’s tournament will feature 16 teams — up from 14 last time out — including defending champion Australia, England, Fiji, Lebanon, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga who all qualified by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2017 tournament hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The remaining eight participants are to be decided by a regional qualification process under the auspices of the Rugby League International Federation
The Canadian men, known as the Wolverines, will watch from the sidelines having already lost to Jamaica in qualifying play last November. The Reggae Warriors then beat the U.S. to become Americas champion. Canada is ranked 21st in the world.
Canada’s women made it to the semifinals of their six-team World Cup competition in 2017 before being thumped 58-6 by Australia.
In their first World Cup, the Canadian women were outscored 204-32 in losing three of four matches but celebrated a historic first win — 22-8 over Papua New Guinea.
The Ravens and Wolverines hit the road in September for a joint tour of Serbia.