Auckland Nines Could Be Shelved Due To 2018 Rugby League World Cup Scheduling Conflict
The Auckland Nines "could be missing from the calendar next year" as the event's promoters and the National Rugby League "wrestle with how to fit it" into an offseason schedule that includes the Rugby League World Cup, according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The possibility of a venue change in '18 was raised after "poor crowds" attended the tournament in February, but it is reportedly "increasingly likely" that it will not go ahead at all. The "primary reason is concern over the workload of players," particularly those who compete in the World Cup, to be run in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea from Oct. 27-Dec. 2. The All Stars game "has already been removed temporarily from the calendar," meaning that if the Nines does not go ahead, the preseason will feature only the World Club Series and trial games. Promoter Duco Events confirmed on Monday that a full feasibility assessment on an '18 tournament was under way due to the "challenges with the Rugby League World Cup" (SMH, 6/19).