With the sporting calendar still subject to changes and Australia under more restrictions than most, the 2021 Rugby League World Cup suffered an inevitable delay. Originally scheduled for later this year, the most prestigious tournament in the sport has now been put back until 2022.
Other than the rescheduling, little has changed: England remain the host country while, the most successful nation in the history of the game will start as clear favourites to claim the trophy.
Rugby League continues to enjoy steady growth around the globe and we have an extended tournament for 2022. For the first time, 16 teams will take part in the competition – an increase from 14 at the previous World Cup in 2017.
England are the host nation and the tournament is now scheduled to take place between October 15th to November 19th, 2022.
In the initial stages, those 16 teams will be split into four groups, each of which will contain four countries. Each side will play each other once and, at the end of that sequence, the top two teams in each group will progress to the next stage.
We’ve now reached the knockouts which begin with the quarter finals. These are single, straight knockout matches and this format continues all the way through to the final itself.
A number of host venues have been put forward for the World Cup but exact stadiums will be confirmed in due course. What we do know is that Old Trafford in Manchester is down to host the final on November 19th.
A feast of Rugby League is in prospect but can anyone look past the defending champions?
To date, there have been 15 Rugby League World Cup tournaments and Australia have won no fewer than 11 of them. A combined Great Britain side have won on three separate occasions while the only other nation to lift the trophy are 2008 Champions New Zealand.
Since that Kiwi victory in 2008, Australia has won the two subsequent editions, in 2013 and 2017. It’s therefore no surprise that the Wallabies are the clear favourites to make it three in a row when the tournament finally kicks off in England next year.
According to the best betting sites online as sourced by sbo.net, Australia are an odds-on selection with a gap to the chasing pack which includes New Zealand, England and Tonga.
There are a number of international rugby league matches set to be played between now and the start of the tournament in October 2022 which means that those odds are subject to change. Sbo.net will reflect those updates and readers can note down any changes in pricing when they reach the site.
Along with other reading material such as news updates and opinion pieces, visitors can also sign up with any of the panel of sportsbooks if they so wish. Welcome promotions can be generous while there is a choice of deposit and withdrawal options, together with the possibility of streaming live rugby league in places.
It’s a powerful site for anyone looking to stake on the tournament but is it possible to see anyone other than Australia lifting the trophy in 2022?
All signs point to Australia and there’s no doubting the fact that this is the most successful rugby league nation on the planet. The only hope for anyone else lies in the potential for home advantage and a win for host nation England.
Delays to the sporting calendar have robbed us of the chance to see England take on Australia in an Ashes series which could have offered a useful indicator. It’s also worth remembering that England came relatively close to claiming their first title as a solo nation back in 2017.
The 2017 final itself may not have been memorable but the English restricted Australia to a six points to nil victory which suggests that they were not far away from causing an upset.
2008 Champions New Zealand will also be hopeful of making an impression in the greatest rugby league competition in the world. There are challenges in wait but, the most dominant team in the history of the tournament look set to claim their 12th title.