Following the biggest, best and most inclusive Rugby League World Cup ever, Wales men are to compete in the biggest-ever Rugby League European Championships in 2023.
European Rugby League has today announced that eight nations – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Spain and Wales – will contest the European Championships (Euro A) next autumn.
The Wales Wheelchair side are also set to compete in a European Championship with ERL currently putting the final touches to its plans for this competition.
Also in 2023, Wales Women will compete in a qualifying tournament for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup. This is following the success of the inaugural women’s Euro B competition in 2022. A record number of nations will contest the qualifying tournament next year to secure one of the four remaining berths for European teams,
At youth level, the biennial European U19s Championships will return in 2024, with any qualifying games required taking part in 2023.
Wales Rugby League chairman Brian Juliff said: “We’re delighted that a full programme for our elite and youth sides is being planned for 2023.
“The visibility of the Rugby League World Cup across the varying playing disciplines, thanks to the broadcast by the BBC, has been excellent and we anticipate even larger participation figures as a legacy of this, and hopefully an increased support as we look forward to another exciting set of international campaigns next year.”
Underneath the men’s Euro A competition, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway and Ukraine will meet in Euro B for the right to progress to the final RLWC2025 qualifying tournament in 2024, with fixtures already announced.
On top of formal competitions, there will be several bi-laterally arranged Test matches, with England and France having already announced fixtures against each other for their men’s and women’s teams in April 2023.
ERL chairman Dean Andrew added: “We’ve already announced the fixtures for the men’s Euro B and further timing confirmations for the other competitions are imminent. The appetite for the international game is huge and I’m pleased that European Rugby League is able to have its short term calendar in place as we build towards the next global event, also in the northern hemisphere, in 2025.”