The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament, played between national teams of the Rugby League International Federation.
The first-ever Rugby League World Cup was held in 1954 in France, although there had been ideas for a rugby league world cup tournament since the 1930s.
The format of the tournament has varied over time. For several competitions, the matches were played on a home-and-away basis around the world, instead of in any one host nation.
The Great Britain team has been split into teams from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales since 1995, while England and Wales had previously competed as separate teams in the 1975 World Cup.
There have been 16 tournaments from 1954 to 2022, held with two to eight years intervals. Only three nations have won the tournament — Australia (12 times), Great Britain (3 times) and New Zealand (once). See the full list of winners.
The 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England was postponed from 2021 to 2022, after Australia and New Zealand indicated they would not attend the event if it went ahead in 2021.
The 2025 tournament will be held in France (see the full list of hosts). The event was originally awarded to the United States in 2016, but was changed because of financial concerns.
- The original Rugby League World Cup trophy was stolen six days just before the finals in 1970, until it was found 20 years later in rubbish in Bradford. Since there was no trophy to present in 1970, several other trophies were used from 1972 until 1995.
- In 1990, a Bradford local discovered the trophy minus the plinth. He turned it in to the local police and when nobody claimed it 28 days later, it was returned to him. He contacted a local newspaper and on the 1st June 1990, the trophy was presented to Roger Millward, a goal-kicking Stand-off/five-eighth and coach for Great Britain, who took it to the RFL’s headquarters in Leeds.
- 2025: France
- 2029: ?
- Rugby League World Cup Winners
- Rugby League World Cup Hosts
- Rugby League Major Events
- Rugby League Calendar
- Learn more about the sport of Rugby League.
- Rugby Union Major Events
- Read about other major world sporting events.