The New Zealand Herald
Kiwis pull out of Cup
The Kiwis will not compete at this year’s Rugby League World Cup in England.
The New Zealand Rugby League informed tournament organisers of their decision yesterday that the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns would not be attending the event.
It’s not a unilateral action, with the Australian Rugby League Commission also confirming that they would not be sending teams to the tournament, which is due to kick off in October.
In the joint statement, the NZRL and ARLC said the decision to withdraw comes after considering the risk of Covid-19 infection in the United Kingdom, the worsening environment in Australia and the time a majority of NRL Premiership players will spend away from home under strict biosecurity conditions prior to the World Cup.
They have resolved that in the present environment the risks to athletes and officials travelling to the UK to participate in the tournament this year are too great and both bodies are calling for the event to be postponed until 2022.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters said the decision to withdraw was in the best interests of players and officials.
“The safety and wellbeing of our people is the main priority, and unfortunately, that cannot be guaranteed to our satisfaction,” he said.
“There are stark differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia and recent developments have highlighted how quickly things can change.
“The tournament organisers have moved heaven and earth to make this work, so it is not an easy decision, but the Covid-19 situation in the UK shows no sign of improving, and it’s simply too unsafe to send teams and staff over.’’