NRL confirms pools for World Cup 9s

The NRL has confirmed the three pools which will make up the inaugural Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, which will be held at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta on October 18-19.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says that the format of the pools would ensure key rivals face each other in the fast-paced, action-packed short form of Rugby League.

During the official launch of the tournament today in Parramatta, it was revealed that:

  • Group A would include Australia, New Zealand, PNG and USA
  • Group B would include England, France, Lebanon and Wales
  • Group C would include Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands

The two highest-placed teams from Group A will progress to the Semi Finals, alongside the winners of Groups B and C.

The two highest placed teams from the Women’s pool, which features Australia, New Zealand, England and PNG, will feature in the women’s final.

The Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019 was formally launched today in Parramatta featuring Damien Cook (Kangaroos), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Kiwis), James Segeyaro (PNG), Maika Sivo (Fiji), Michael Jennings (Tonga), Anthony Milford (Samoa), Alex Glenn (Cook Islands), as well as Raecene McGregor (Kiwi Ferns).

Greenberg said the pools were chosen to ensure exciting match-ups between traditional rivals.

He added all teams would play one match on Friday and a minimum of two matches on Saturday.

“The World Cup 9s will feature the most exciting players to watch in the game, representing their nations and their cultures,” he added.

“It will be a festival of Rugby League and the fast-paced, frenetic nature of Nines will be fantastic to watch.

“This is Rugby League rebooted – a unique and exciting way to showcase our wonderful athletes.”

Greenberg also detailed some of the key rules which will be in place for the tournament:

  • A Bonus Zone, giving teams the chance for a five-point try, will be included
  • A 20-40 rule, in addition to the 40-20
  • A 25-second shot clock on drop-kicked conversions
  • Golden Try in the event of a match drawn after regulation time

The Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019 has been secured for Sydney by the New South Wales Government.

Minister for Sport John Sidoti said Bankwest Stadium was the perfect venue for the inaugural Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s.

“What a moment for Bankwest Stadium to host this world-first event, and we expect more than 50,000 fans will be on the ground to enjoy it,” Minister Sidoti said.

“NSW is the proud home of Rugby League in Australia, and the Nines will reinforce why teams and spectators flock here for the big games.”

Greenberg said the support of Government as well as the RLIF was significant in allowing the Nines concept to prosper on an international stage.

RLIF Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The Nines format is a tremendous version of Rugby League and the Downer World Cup 9s will provide fans and players with a further opportunity to enjoy international competition at the highest level.”

Tickets will be available via

The 12 teams in the men’s competition and four teams in the women’s tournament will compete across 28 matches and 12 hours of action.

FOX Sports, the official broadcast partner of the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s, will broadcast every match live and exclusive into Australia.  Sky New Zealand will also broadcast every match live into New Zealand.