Seven nations get automatic 2017 World Cup spots

The qualification details for the 2017 World Cup have been revealed, with seven of the 14 teams gaining an automatic place in the tournament, to be held in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia, New Zealand, England, Fiji, France, Samoa and Scotland – all quarter-finalists in the 2013 World Cup – will all go straight in to the tournament, the 17th Rugby League World Cup.

The remaining seven nations will be selected from across four regions; three from Europe, two via Asia Pacific, one from the Americas and another from Middle-East Africa.

All four regions will reveal their qualification programmes by October 2014 and the process will still be open to Affiliate members who gain Full status in the interim.

The nations taking part in the 2017 World Cup will be decided by 1st December 2016.

Commenting on the timetable and process, RLIF chairman Nigel Wood noted: “The 2017 World Cup looks set to be the most geographically diverse in our history.

“The excitement, on the back of the playing success of the 2013 tournament when the group stages, especially, gave us some wonderful contests and new names and stars to support, is already evident.

“There is a clamour by existing and aspiring nations to be included and the process is now clear, equitable and gives the RLIF and those competing ample time to build the qualification games into memorable and meaningful events.”

The USA are the only team to have made the quarter-finals of the last World Cup not to gain automatic qualification for 2017.

The Cook Islands, Tonga, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Italy and Ireland were the other teams who featured in 2013.

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