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Western Sydney Stadium to host new World Cup 9s rugby league tournament
The soon-to-be completed Western Sydney Stadium is to host 12 national teams in the inaugural rugby league World Cup 9s over two days next October.
The short-format rugby league game has been played for more than 20 years but this tournament will mark the first four-yearly World Cup.
Announcing the hosting, Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) Chief Executive Nigel Wood stated "Nines is a very important part of the strategic objective for the RLIF already this year.
"We've played nines at the Commonwealth championships in Brisbane, next year nines will be played in the Pacific Games."
The fast-paced game runs for 20 minutes - two nine-minute halves with a two-minute half-time break. It features sides of nine players, with six interchange players, and only five players from each side form a scrum after a double knock-on.
Despite concerns from some quarters of player fatigue, the NRL insisted it would attract the best players.
NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg advised “we have taken the concept through all of our clubs and the players' association, we've looked at player workload.
"But bringing nines to the international game will have great success, this is players representing their nations - different to playing for their clubs."
The Auckland Nines competition was scrapped in its fourth year, 2017, but Greenberg said the NRL was confident that playing the tournament at the end of the season would see it survive long-term.
He added “they desperately want to play for their countries.
"We are looking to put international fixtures in place at the end of each season where there is a clear international window."
The new $300 million Western Sydney Stadium is scheduled to open in April next year.
Images: NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall and NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres announce the new competition (top) and the near-completed Western Sydney stadium from the outside. (below, courtesy NRL).
22nd November 2018 - Children the stars in campaign to promote junior rugby league
19th October 2018 - Waratahs to play three games at Western Sydney Stadium in 2019
31st August 2018 - Naming Rights Partner: new Western Sydney Stadium
26th August 2018 - 2019 opening on track for new Western Sydney Stadium
26th June 2018 - NSW Government refuses additional funding for new Parramatta pool
4th April 2016 - Penrith Panthers open $22 million rugby league Academy
11th August 2016 - NRL names Andrew Hill as Rugby League World Cup Chief Executive
15th November 2015 - NSW Government backs rugby league centre of excellence at Sydney Olympic Park
27th June 2014 - ATEED acknowledges Auckland Nines success
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