The Asia Pacific’s best men’s international teams will turn their focus towards Rugby League World Cup 2021 after conceding mid-season Test matches in Australia could not go ahead.
The Asia Pacific Rugby League had hoped its member nations could play in late July as part of the mid-season international clashes that have quickly grown in popularity.
However, the challenges of international movements created by COVID has made the mid-season Tests
Instead, the Asia Pacific teams will now turn their focus towards the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) starting in England in late October. The RWLC brings together 16 teams including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa.
“We had hoped for mid-season Tests to continue to showcase the great skill of our Asia Pacific players however we understand that the situation is difficult at the moment because of the challenges of COVID,”
Asia Pacific Rugby League Chairman Sandis Tsaka said.
“We thank the participating international associations who worked hard to try to make this happen.”
Fiji National Rugby League Acting Chief Executive Officer Don Natabe said his association understood the challenges.
“We always enjoy playing international matches because they’re such a great display of the tradition and passion that our players have for the game but we understand the need to put health and safety first,” Mr Natabe said.
International Rugby League Southern Hemisphere General Manager Jeremy Edwards said the focus was now on rugby league’s international showcase event.
“We’re working towards an exciting Rugby League World Cup including warm-up matches that will ensure the teams are ready to deliver an outstanding tournament,” Mr Edwards said.
“We know that World Cups are worth the wait so we look forward to getting to England for a
memorable few weeks of matches.”