12 Dec 2018
European Play Off Draw Made
Greece to face Norway in London
Qualifying for the 2021 World Cup will resume in London during May, it was revealed at the draw for the final European qualifiers later in 2019.
Before a draw that saw qualification equal favourites Ireland arguably placed in a more difficult side of the draw than arch-rivals Scotland, Rugby League European Federation general manager Chris Thair announced Greece would play off with Norway in London on May 18.
The game will be a double header to either a London Broncos or London Skolars match. The Broncos are at home to Wakefield on May 18 while Skolars take on Doncaster.
As top seeds, the Bravehearts and Wolfhounds were kept apart during Wednesday’s draw, conducted at St Helens. Two teams from each of the two groups progress to the World Cup.
Spain were first out of the hat, meaning they will play at home in week one. Then came Italy, grouped with them, and Ireland. Italy have access to more NRL players than Russia, Greece or Norway, suggesting this is a slightly tougher group than the other.
Scotland were fourth out of the hat, meaning they will be at home in week one for the main qualifiers, to take place in October and November next year. Then came the remaining sides, including a ball marked Greece or Norway.
Eleven teams have now qualified for the 2021 World Cup. Four from these qualifiers will join them, leaving one spot from an intercontinental play-off which at this stage looks like pitting the Cook Islands against the United States.
Greece, Norway or Spain would join Jamaica in qualifying for the first time if they are successful.
Group one: Spain (home week one), Italy (home week two), Ireland (home week three)
Group two: Scotland (home week one) , Greece/Norway (home week two), Russia (home week three).
Week one: Spain v Ireland / Scotland v Russia
Week two: Italy v Spain / Greece or Norway v Scotland
Week three: Russia v Greece or Norway / Ireland v Italy