The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament involving national teams which are part of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). A total of 15 world cup tournaments have been held so far, at intervals of between two and eight years. The format of the tournament has evolved over time.
The proposal to hold a rugby league world cup competition was first raised in the 1930s by the French. The inaugural World Cup was played in Paris in 1954, and involved four nations (France, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand). It was won by Great Britain who defeated France in the final of a league format.
Since then, the format of the contest has undergone numerous changes. For example, in 1975, the tournament was altered to hold matches on a home and away basis in different parts of the world rather than in a single host nation.
Another restructure occurred in 1995 which involved reverting to a host nation format and ten teams competed in a knockout-style competition. The 2000 World Cup was plagued with issues including poor organisation and crowd attendance and was consequently not held again until 2008. After the 2013 tournament, the scheduling returned to four-year intervals.
The World Cup has officially been either hosted or co-hosted by seven teams, with Scotland being considered as part of Great Britain rather than a separate home nation. A total of 19 national teams have competed in the tournament over the years. The only countries to have played in every tournament are France, Australia and New Zealand.
Since the 2000 World Cup, teams have competed in regional qualifying rounds comprised of Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa/Middle East and the Americas. Teams that were quarter finalists in the previous world cup qualify automatically.
Since 2013, the competition has involved three groups of teams in the preliminary rounds, before progressing to a knockout stage. Eight teams then play each other in the quarter finals. The four winners then progress to the semi-finals and the remaining two teams then compete in the grand final. The team with the most points after 80 minutes of play wins the game and if teams are still tied after extra time a golden point is played.
A total of three nations have won the tournament, with Australian having won 11 times, Great Britain three times and New Zealand once.
The World Cup trophy was presented to the inaugural winner in 1954, and then the three subsequent tournament winners before the trophy was stolen in 1970. It was later recovered and next presented at the 2000 tournament.
The most recent tournament was played in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in 2017. A total of 20 teams are seeking qualification for the 2021 World Cup, with 16 teams due to compete in the 2021 World Cup when it is hosted by England.
The RLIF has also organised separate World Cup tournaments for women, students and a number of other categories.
Watch Rugby League World Cup NZ
It’s unclear who will bid for the rights to the rugby league world cup at this stage. Will it be Spark Sports, Sky Sports or TVNZ?
The BBC has bought the rights to broadcast all 31 games live in the United Kingdom online and free to air.
That means, with the help of a UK based VPN service you’ll be able to watch the tournament for free.
Step 1: Get A VPN Provider
To watch Rugby League World Cup you need to use an UK VPN to fool iPlayer website into thinking you’re in the UK.
There are many different VPN providers out there on the web, from our experience the cheapest and most affordable option is PureVPN.
You’ll be able to buy a VPN using your New Zealand credit card/Paypal.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN Application
You’ll need to decide how you plan on accessing iPlayer. You could use your smart TV, Apple TV or just a computer web browser.
You’ll need to download the PureVPN Application to your device first, then the iPlayer or visit their website and live stream.
Login with the details you were provided via email during signup.
Step 3: Choose United Kingdom Server
You’ll now need to connect through to a UK based server. If you’re given an option of which city then I’d choose London.
You’ll be advised by the VPN app once your IP has changed and you’re routing your connection via UK.
You’ll now be able to load the Rugby League World Cup live stream website and start watching right away.
Step 4: Start Watching Rugby League World Cup
You’ll now be able to play any of the on demand content available too.
Keep your account and watch more geoblocked content from all over the world. Read some of our other guides for other channels and content.
Aelwyn is based in the UK and has a masters in security. He’s studied further in the United States while working for companies such as Google and Cisco. He loves rugby and has played professionally too.