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Aust and NZ to host 2017 RL World Cup

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Update: 9:54AM AUSTRALIA will defend their newly-won rugby league World Cup title on home soil, with the announcement that the 2017 tournament will take place in Australia and New Zealand.

The joint trans-Tasman bid beat out an audacious attempt by South Africa to host the tournament.

"This was not a simple decision but with fans of international rugby league buoyed by the recent success of RLWC2013, we were determined to get it right," Nigel Wood, the vice-chairman of the Rugby League International Federation said.

"Both bids were thoroughly compelling but the joint Australia/New Zealand bid was selected as the one with the greatest chance of success in providing more compelling games in world class environments in front of big, passionate crowds."

South Africa, who entered a team in the 1995 and 2008 World Cups, have only a fledging domestic game but argued they could help spread the game internationally.

"The bid from South Africa was very strong, prepared professionally and clearly demonstrated a passion for rugby league that is growing by the day in that country," Wood said.

Meanwhile, the NRL has announced that this year's mid-season Anzac Test will be in Sydney.

The Kangaroos and the Kiwis will meet for the first time since Australia won last year's World Cup final when they line up at Allianz Stadium on May 2.

The Test will be part of an exciting round of representative football that also includes the Test between Fiji and Samoa at Penrith on May 3 - with the winner to compete in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand - as well as the Country vs City match at Dubbo on May 4.

For the first time, a women's match featuring an All Stars team and Indigenous All Stars team will also be played as the curtain-raiser to the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test.

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