Tri-Nations Replaces League World

A new annual Tri-Nations series involving Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain will replace the World Cup and the Lions tours until at least 2006. The Rugby League International Federation confirmed that the competition will be hosted by Great Britain for the next three years.

The decision effectively puts the next World Cup, scheduled for 2005, on ice, principally because of the financial problems and largely uncompetitive nature of the 2000 tournament.

It is hoped that the Tri-Nations concept will capitalise on growing interest in the forthcoming Australia tour of Britain, with ticket sales for the second Test at Hull's Kingston Communications Stadium on 15 November approaching 15,000.

"The reports on the tour preparations are very encouraging," said chairman Colin Love.

"It was agreed that three different referees will be used in the three Tests, with the individual appointments to be agreed between the ARL and the RFL later in the year.

"There's no doubt the Tri-Nations events over the next three years will build on the interest we are already seeing in the game in England."

Australia, who comprehensively defeated New Zealand 48-6 last Friday, won the one-off Tri-Nations tournament held in Brisbane and Auckland in 1999.

Delegates from Britain, France, New Zealand and Australia also confirmed Sydney as hosts for the World Sevens next February and agreed to adopt a uniform anti-doping code.