An opportunity to run out against the world's best

CENTRE STAGE: Captains of the teams currently competing at the 2017 World Cup.
CENTRE STAGE: Captains of the teams currently competing at the 2017 World Cup. Bradley Kanaris

RUGBY LEAGUE: Latin America has the opportunity to make an unprecedented entry into the 2021 Rugby League World Cup following the current results of the World Cup in Brisbane.

Under guidelines publicly stated by the Rugby League International Federation before this year's World Cup, up to three teams from the Americas can now qualify for the 2021 event.

A strong showing from the Pacific nations at this year's tournament, with all six making the quarter finals, and a ground-breaking effort by Lebanon means those nations have automatically qualified for 2021.

This contrasts with five of six European teams missing the quarter finals, with only England guaranteed a place in 2021.

The 2021 tournament would be comprised of 16 teams, an increase of two nations on the current scenario.

The Americas will have two guaranteed places under this arrangement, while a third-ranked Americas team will play the leading team from the Africa-Middle East region and the seventh-ranked team from the Asia-Pacific region for the remaining spot.

While established rugby league nations the USA, Canada and Jamaica would be front running to fill the top three Americas roles, the newcomers from Latin America have been given a sense of hope.

Latin American Rugby League president Daniel Godinez is excited at the prospect with the first Latin American Rugby League Championships set to begin in Chile this Friday, November 17.

"I'm sure I share the excitement of many at results from the current Rugby League World Cup, but particularly now there is a clear pathway for Latino nations to future tournaments,” Godinez said.

"This Friday and Saturday will see the leading countries from around Latin America assembling in Los Angeles, southern Chile for what we already consider to be a momentous championship.

"There are presently three RLIF-ranked Latin American nations, and following this tournament there should be six ranked Latino nations.”

At present the three ranked Latin American nations are Chile, El Salvador and Uruguay, with Argentina and Colombia set to become ranked after this weekend's championship and Brazil and Mexico are also in the frame.

South Burnett

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