England surprisingly set to play in European Championship in 2023

European Rugby League have announced that eight nations will compete in a men’s European Championship for rugby league in the autumn of 2023.

Much was said after the World Cup about the need for more international games with many asking where or what next?

Well that question has been answered in the form of this freshly announced competition. 

The eight sides scheduled to take part in what is being called Euro A will be 2021 World Cup participants England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales with new boys Serbia and Spain also being involved. 

Euro B will then be comprised of the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway and Ukraine where they will face off in 2023 to head to the 2025 French World Cup qualifying tournament, with those final qualifiers set to be played in 2024. 

It has been questioned whether this will be Shaun Wane’s England or England Knights who this year defeated Scotland’s first team.

Both the women and wheelchair game are also seeing development as well with a record number of countries expected to contest qualification for the women’s 2025 World Cup, whilst a Wheelchair European Championships is in the final stages of planning by the ERL as well.

It’s evident very early on from the end of the first ever world cup in which all three versions of the sport, men’s, women’s and wheelchair, took place simultaneously that this trend of inclusivity and expansion of the game is only going to continue. 

This is also a huge step to creating an international calendar for the sport that will only strengthen competition for when the world cup circles around every four years. 

Plans to develop the game in the Middle East Africa and Americas regions, all under ERL jurisdiction, have also been made with France 2025 World Cup men’s qualification set for 2023 and the womens a year later in 2024. 

“We’ve already announced the fixtures for the men’s Euro B and further timing confirmations for the other competitions are imminent,” stated ERL Chair Dean Andrew. 

“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.” he concluded.

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