The Rugby League International Federation have released the full draw for the 2018 Rugby League Commonwealth Championships which will be held in Moreton Bay Region, just north of Brisbane in Australia, on 23-24 February.
The competition will bring together 11 Commonwealth nations across two days in three divisions – Men Under 23, Women and Physical Disability.
This tournament is officially endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Federation and is classed as an exhibition sport with the aim for it to become a full medal sport in 2026. Wales won bronze four years ago in Glasgow with Papua New Guinea taking Gold.
A highly-anticipated men’s clash between Pacific island rivals Tonga and Samoa is scheduled to kick off the action on the morning of Friday, February 23 at Redcliffe’s refurbished Dolphin Stadium. It is the first of 22 Day 1 matches on Friday 23rd February to be contested in the fan-friendly nine-a-side format.
Wales, who are in Pool A, will open their campaign against hosts and 2014 silver medalists Australia at 12.30pm local time, before lining up against Fiji at 3.35pm then Scotland at 6.05pm.
The opening day then concludes with the host nation featuring in three matches across each of the competitions, providing local fans with the opportunity to get along to the ground to cheer on the Australian teams after work or school.
On the Saturday, the stakes will rise once more with teams to play in a series of semi-finals before the championships conclude with bronze and gold medal matches.
RLIF Chief Executive Officer Dr David Collier said it was shaping up to be a fantastic event.
“The Commonwealth Championships provided an outstanding competition at Glasgow 2014,” he said. “Following the success of the Women’s World Cup, these Championships embrace an expanded event including six Women’s nations in addition to the eight Men’s teams.
“RLIF is extremely grateful to Moreton Bay for the excellent facilities and to the continued support of the Commonwealth Games for the sport of Rugby League.
“The 2018 championships will provide a great weekend of world class sport for spectators and players alike and we look forward to welcoming the teams to Queensland this month.”
Former Brisbane Broncos, Queensland, Fiji and Australia star Petero Civoniceva is putting the call out for fans to snap up their tickets and join him at the unique event.
A proud local who shot to international prominence after starting out with the Redcliffe Dolphins, Civoniceva is thrilled to bring the “world” to his backyard for the Rugby League Nines extravaganza.
He said: “Get your mates together and come along to enjoy all the action on the field as well as Moreton Bay’s stunning beaches and famous sea food. I’ll see you there as we celebrate Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games legacy.”
FIXTURES IN FULL (All timings are QLD time, 10 hours ahead of GMT)
10.15am – Tonga v Samoa
10.40am – England v Papua New Guinea
12.05pm – Fiji v Scotland
12.30pm – Australia v Wales
12.55pm – England v Samoa
1.45pm – Papua New Guinea v Tonga
3.10pm – Australia v Scotland
3.35pm – Fiji v Wales
4.50pm – Samoa v Papua New Guinea
5.15pm – England v Tonga
6.05pm – Scotland v Wales
7.30pm – Australia v Fiji
10.45am – Ranking semi-final – Third Pool A v Fourth Pool B
11.10am – Ranking semi-final – Third Pool B v Fourth Pool A
1pm – Major semi-final – First Pool A v Second Pool B
1.25pm – Major semi-final – First Pool B v Second Pool A
2.15pm – Seventh / Eighth Place “Bowl” play-off
2.40pm – Fifth / Sixth Place “Shield” play-off
5.25pm – Bronze medal match
5.50pm – Gold medal match
11.05am – Fiji v Samoa
11.30am – Canada v Tonga
2.10pm – Australia v Samoa
2.45pm – Cook Islands v Tonga
5.40pm – Canada v Cook Islands
7.05pm – Australia v Fiji
11.35am – Semi-Final – First Pool A v Second Pool B
12pm – Semi-Final – First Pool B v Second Pool A
1.50pm – Fifth / Sixth Place “Shield” play-off
4pm – Bronze medal match
4.25pm – Gold medal match
PHYSICAL DISABILITY TOURNAMENT
10.40am – New Zealand v Commonwealth All Stars (field 2)
1.20pm – Australia v Commonwealth All Stars
3.10pm – Australia v Commonwealth All Stars (field 2)
6.40pm – Australia v New Zealand
10.20am – Australia v New Zealand
12.35pm – New Zealand v Commonwealth All Stars
3.05pm – Gold medal match (First v Second ranked sides)
To download a PDF with the full set of Rugby League Commonwealth Championship fixtures and pools, please go to https://www.visitmoretonbayregion.com.au/_assets/img/CommGames_A4_Draw_HighRes.pdf. To purchase tickets, go to www.rugbyleague9smoretonbay.com.au.
For the rules of Rugby League Nines, and a full history of Wales’ involvement, please go to http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/wrl_rep_teams/nines.
Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i0QS-wEVRY&feature=youtu.be to watch highlights of the 2014 tournament.