Rugby League World Cup 2021: How will Thursday's draw work?

Australia celebrate their 2017 Rugby League World Cup triumph
Australia celebrate their 2017 Rugby League World Cup triumph
Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw
Venue: Buckingham Palace, London Date: Thursday, 16 January, 12:00 GMT Coverage: Live streaming and text coverage on BBC Sport website and app from 11:45 GMT

England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland will discover their 2021 Rugby League World Cup fixture schedules when the draw for the various guises of the tournament are made at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

All four are represented in the men's competition, while Scotland, Wales and hosts England also await their fate in the women's and wheelchair events, which all run in tandem for the first time.

Australia are bidding to defend their men's and women's titles, while France are the reigning wheelchair champions from 2017.

The Duke of Sussex will conduct the draws alongside dual code international Jason Robinson and the chair of UK Sport, former Olympic rowing champion Dame Katherine Grainger.

Men's tournament: 23 October-27 November 2021

Key notes

  • Four groups of four teams, 16 nations in total
  • Hosts England (A), holders Australia (B), New Zealand (C) and Tonga (D) have been pre-allocated their groups
  • Remaining teams to be drawn from three pools of four
  • Each group must have a Pacific region team included
  • Groups, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final format
Pool one for drawPool two for drawPool three for draw
* Lebanon are the sole non-Pacific region in pool one
FijiFranceGreece
Lebanon*WalesIreland
Papua New GuineaScotlandItaly
SamoaJamaicaCook Islands

Each team from each pool is drawn in turn from the pot, until there are no nations left, the draw is complete and each of the four groups has four teams.

The only small complication is with Group A (England's group) where the first pick will not include Lebanon. This is to ensure that the spread of Pacific region teams across each group is assured.

Otherwise, the draw will be conducted as normal.

Women's tournament: 9-27 November 2021

Amy Hardcastle battles against the PNG defence
Amy Hardcastle's long-range try against PNG was one of the standout moments of the 2017 World Cup

Key notes

  • Two groups of four teams, eight nations in total
  • Hosts England (A) and holders Australia (B) have been pre-allocated their groups
  • Three pots of two teams will complete the two groups
  • Groups, semi-finals and final format
Pool one for drawPool two for drawPool three for draw
New ZealandCanadaCook Islands
Papua New GuineaFranceBrazil

Wheelchair tournament: 11-26 November 2021

James Simpson of the Leeds Rhinos and England wheelchair team takes the ball forward
Stars such as England's James Simpson - in Leeds colours - are expected to impress at the 2021 tournament

Key notes

  • Two groups of four teams, eight nations in total
  • Hosts England (A) and holders France (B) have been pre-allocated their groups
  • Three pots of two teams will complete the two groups
  • Groups, semi-finals and final format
Pool one for drawPool two for drawPool three for draw
WalesScotlandUSA
AustraliaSpainNorway

You can follow the fortunes of your favourite team with live match notifications sent straight to your phone or tablet via the BBC Sport app. Line-up, kick-off, score, half-time and full-time options are available for all teams participating at the World Cup.

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