ENGLAND will be among eight teams to play in a European Championship at the end of next season.
European Rugby League (ERL) have confirmed a tournament that will also feature France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Serbia, Spain and Wales.
However, with England hoping for more high-profile opposition at the end of the 2023, pending International Rugby League’s global calendar, which is due in the coming weeks, it is expected to be an England Knights side that takes part.
England have already announced an April clash with France and both nations will then have sides in the European Championships, which doubles as a qualifying tournament for the next World Cup, despite already being assured of their places in the 2025 event – England as a quarter-finalist this year, and France as hosts.
For the other six sides, the competition will allow them to secure their places at the 2025 World Cup, although those who do not will have another chance the following year.
There will also be a secondary competition, involving the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway and Ukraine, from which two teams will progress to a final qualifying tournament in 2024.
European qualifying for the next World Cup actually began a year ago, with Czech Republic and the Netherlands beating Malta and Turkey respectively to progress to that group.
“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,” said ERL Chair Dean Andrew OBE.