SYDNEY - A plan for Australia and New Zealand to jointly host the 2017 Rugby League World Cup has progressed after the sport's governing body accepted the countries' expression of interest.
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) announced on Monday that it had approved the trans-Tasman proposal, as well as an expression of interest from South Africa, and formal bids were now expected from both.
Bids are due to be submitted next month, and a decision is expected in January.
RLIF deputy chairman Nigel Wood, who will chair the sub-committee hearing the bids, said it was an important milestone in firmly establishing a four-year cycle for the tournament.
"The Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport and is essential to the development of the game at every level," Wood said in a statement.
"It is fantastic to see three nations all with an active interest in hosing the next tournament that clearly demonstrates a growing, global interest in rugby league."