The new Western Sydney Stadium has today (Friday) been announced as the venue for the inaugural edition of rugby league’s World Cup 9s tournament.

The New South Wales Government has brokered a deal with the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) and National Rugby League (NRL) to stage the new national team tournament for nines format of the sport on October 18-19, 2019.

The inaugural event will feature 12 teams in the men’s competition and four in the women’s, with 28 matches played in total. The 30,000-seat Western Sydney Stadium has been built on the site of the old Parramatta stadium that was demolished in 2017 and is due to open in April. The Parramatta Eels-Wests Tigers NRL clash on Easter Monday will be the first NRL game played at the venue.

“The nines concept has been a great success and this is the obvious next step – nines at international level,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said. “The best players in the world will be on show in this unique concept over the course of two days at the brand new Western Sydney Stadium. This will be the typical fast-paced and free-flowing action which the nines brings but with the added international flavour.

“The whole week will be a celebration of rugby league in western Sydney, with a number of community initiatives planned. The benefits for the game are enormous. It will be an exciting and innovative tournament for our fans and it will also help to develop international rugby league.”

The NRL will work with the RLIF on the finalisation of the participating nations for the tournament. RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood said: “It was clear there was a piece missing in our portfolio and that was the shortened version of the game. The nines is very important strategically to the RLIF as it will be at the next (2022) Commonwealth Games (Birmingham, England) and the (2019) Pacific Games (Samoa).”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, added: “I am thrilled that Sydney will be the first city in the world to host the Rugby League World Cup 9s, which is expected to attract more than 13,300 overnight visitors to Sydney, injecting approximately Aus$11m (£6.3m/€7.1m/$8m) into the NSW economy.”

Image: NRL