27 Feb 2014

Sport: Smaller league nations see merit in 'International Nines' concept

2:12 pm on 27 February 2014

Vanuatu Rugby League is hopeful that the success of the NRL Auckland Nines tournament could lead to a spinoff competition for the international game.

More than 90,000 fans packed into Eden Park earlier this month to watch the inaugural Auckland Nines, with the North Queensland Cowboys beating the Brisbane Broncos in the final.

Vanuatu are one of the regular participants in the annual Cabramatta Nines tournament held in Sydney each season, while an exhibition Nines event will take place at this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

VRL founder Dane Campbell believes Nines is an ideal format for the international game.

"You look at the sevens programme in rugby union where your likes of Fiji and Kenya and those nations can compete with the big guys and I think that's probably somewhere in rugby league [where] the nines would be a tremendous addition to any calendar. Seeing the likes of Vanuatu and other Pacific nations and African nations coming through and actually getting an opportunity to play more regularly as a group, whether it's a fully international nines series or whether it's even just international teams or Pacific teams taking part in the Auckland Nines. Whatever format they decide fingers crossed we're a part of it".