21 Jul 2015

Sport: Fewer Pacific teams at Rugby League World Cup 'unavoidable'

1:07 pm on 21 July 2015

Rugby League's governing body says a reduction in Pacific teams at the next World Cup is unavoidable, with competition for places at an all-time high around the globe.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The Cook Islands team at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Five Pacific teams competed at the 2013 edition, but only four will make the trip to New Zealand and Australia in two years time.

The Cook Islands will face Tonga in a winner takes all clash in October.

Tas Baitieri from the Rugby League International Federation says there's no easy solution.

"We have a similar dilemma in Europe where we've got six countries qualifying for three berths, in the Americas we've got three countries qualifying for one berth and we've got Africa where we've got two countries also qualifying for one berth so while it's difficult decisions that are made at board level, it's a stark reality of how the game is progressing. The number of countries playing the game is improving [and] sometimes sacrifices along the way need to be made so that the game continues to grow, elsewhere than our traditional markets".

Tas Baitieri says the growth of the international game is also a chance to find new income streams.

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