By Richard Cowley, Date: 8/8/13
With planning underway for the NRL 9’s to kick-start the NRL season in 2014, another 9’s tournament of the international kind is in the planning stages.
The Emerging nations tournament is planned to take place in the days before the NRL 9’s tournament with the Grand Final of the Emerging nations tournament being played as a curtin-raiser to the NRL 9’s Grand Final.
Emerging Rugby League Nations from around the world are expected in New Zealand for the 9’s Tournament which will provide great exposure to the 9’s concept and international rugby league in general.
In May 2011 rugby league was recognised as a category three sport by the Commonwealth Games Federation. This was the first step in a long battle to have the rugby league 9’s concept included in the commonwealth games. The Rugby League 9’s are still to be played at the commonwealth games but this tournament will showcase everything good about the 9’s concept.
Having rugby league players descending on Auckland from around the globe shows how far rugby league has come as an international sport. Who knows we might just find the next Greg Inglis or Jonathan Thurston running around in one of the emerging nations like Canada, USA or Jamaica.