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Friday, November 30, 2018

International Nines coming to new Western Sydney Stadium

The success of the former NRL Auckland Nines competition for clubs has sewn the seeds for the Downer World Cup 9s tournament to be played in the new Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta next October.
Twelve men's and four women's international teams will play 28 matches on October 18 and 19, which will all be broadcast live by Fox Sports.
"It will be the latest in our portfolio of World Cups," said Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) CEO Nigel Wood at Friday's launch from the top level of the Parramatta Leagues Club carpark, which overlooks the new $300 million WSS due to open in April.
The Eels-Wests Tigers game on Easter Monday will be the first NRL game to be played at the stadium.
"It was quite clear there was a piece missing in our port folio and what was the shortened version of the game," Wood said. "The nines is very important strategically to the RLIF as it will be at the next Commonwealth Games (2022 Birmingham, England) and the Pacific Games (2019 Samoa)."
NRL boss Todd Greenberg, who has been a driving force for an international nines tournament, was also at the launch and confirmed current Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga would be the coach of the Australian Nines side.
"It comes on the back of the success of the Auckland Nines and I expect it to be exactly the same if not better," Greenberg said.
"We think there will be a lot of NRL players wanting to play for their country," Greenberg said. "It is something to add to the international schedule at the end of seasons so more and more people can play for their nations.
"Mal is very excited about the contest and the opportunity to think differently. I've had conversations with a number of other international coaches and all of them support the concept."
The tournament will be held every four years and Greenberg was quick to soothe any concerns of player burnout.
"We've looked at a number of competing interests around player workload, but bringing the nines into the international part of the game will have great success," he said.
"Players representing their nations is different to players playing for their clubs.
"This event could have gone anywhere in the world. This is the first time we've had it. I can't tell you how pleased I am to stand here and say the first international nines will be played here in Sydney at this brand new stadium.
"I think that speaks volumes for the infrastructure development from this (NSW) government."
It's estimated that the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s will bring $11 million into the NSW economy and attract around 14,000 visitors, on top of the local fans.
The RLIF will now instigate an invitation process to work out the make-up of the 16 teams.
Total prizemoney and the breakdown of that is still being discussed, according to Greenberg. But he did promise some flexibility in the rules, as was the case with the Auckland Nines.
"There will be a number of innovations in this tournament for men and women, whether that's the number of points scored in different parts of the ground like in Auckland.
"All of those things will be debated between now and then but there will be some interesting things that we'll talk to the RLIF about."
Tickets will go on sale next year but supporters can register their interest here.