Saints stars to make World Cup draw


England’s Golden Boot winner Tommy Makinson, French star Theo Fages and Wales flyer, Regan Grace will draw the final men’s European qualifying group for the 2021 World Cup in England.

The draw will take place at the Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens, on Wednesday 12 December at 3pm, and will be screened live on the RLEF Facebook page.

The star trio represent three nations that have already secured places. They will draw seven balls out of a bag containing the remaining nations competing for the four final places, in matches to be held in October/November 2019.

Ireland and Scotland enter as top seeds, Italy and Russia are second seeded, while Spain along with the winners of Norway versus Greece in the European C decider next spring, will become third seeds.

Nations with the same seeding will avoid each other, as two groups are determined, with the top two in each group gaining qualification to the main tournament in 2021.

“We have players across the whole of Europe still dreaming of playing in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup,” said RLEF general manager Chris Thair, who will supervise the abovementioned, which will coincidentally decide the fixtures, with each nation playing the other two in their group once.  “The draw will be an exciting, transparent occasion,” he added. “We sincerely thank St Helens for offering to host it and provide some of their international players.”

An expanded sixteen nations will compete in the men’s Rugby League World Cup in England between the 23 October and 27 November 2021. Eight have automatically qualified already, by reaching the quarter finals of the previous tournament in 2017.

A further three added their names after France won the recent 2018 European Championship, with Wales also qualifying after coming runners up, while Jamaica claimed the Americas Championship to become the first Caribbean nation to make the World Cup.