The fake news that’s actually fake.

The Rugby League World Cup will be reduced to only four official matches.

“We’re kidding ourselves that it’s a ‘World’ Cup when only Australia, New Zealand and England are competitive,” said NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. “We’re going straight to the business end with the best teams. No mucking around.”

In the rebooted fixture, Australia – as defending champions – automatically qualify for the extended three-game finals series at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (November 18), Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (November 25) and Melbourne’s AAMI Park (December 2). New Zealand and England play a knockout semi-final on November 11 at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, all telecast on Channel Seven.

The eleven other teams (PNG, France, Samoa, Fiji, Scotland, Tonga, Lebanon, USA, Wales, Ireland, Italy) will play in the ‘Global Challenge Cup’. The unofficial tournament starts mid-October at smaller venues in Australia, New Zealand and PNG, all broadcast on 7Mate. The GCC final will be the curtain-raiser before the first World Cup final at Suncorp Stadium.

“This’ll be a fun carnival for the minnows to enjoy and feel like they’re part of the tournament. It saves them getting flogged by Australia, New Zealand and England, which is bad for their confidence, would bore fans and potentially cost us a lot of money. Everybody wins,” said Greenberg.

The Women’s World Cup continues as scheduled.

The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only.
Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass