France will host the 17 th edition of the Rugby League World Cup in 2025, it has been announced.
The tournament was first held in France back in 1954, but hasn’t been hosted outright by the country since 1972.
A total of 40 venues will be used for the competition, which will run for five weeks over October and November 2025, following on from the Rugby World Cup, which will be held in France in 2023 and the Paris Olympics in 2024.
With that in mind, Rugby League Live takes a look back at where the competition has been held in the past.
1954 – France
Great Britain claimed the inaugural World Cup crown with a win over France in the final, a game that was played out in front of over 30,000 spectators at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Just four teams took part, with Australia and New Zealand making up the competition, while Paris was one of six host cities, alongside Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, Bordeaux and Nantes.
Great Britain captain Dave Valentine holding the World Cup after the Lions win the inaugural Rugby League World Cup at Parc Des Princes, Paris, France 13/11/1954 (Image: SW Pix)
1957 – Australia
Following on from the success of the first tournament, the World Cup went Down Under in 1957 and the Kangeroos picked up their first title, by winning all three of their games and topping the group.
The Sydney Cricket Ground and the Brisbane Cricket Ground were the only two venues used, with an attendance of 58,655 attending the clash between Australia and Great Britain.
1960 – England
Wigan, Bradford, Swinton and Leeds were chosen as hosts for the 1960 event and once again home advantage proved helpful as Great Britain claimed their second World Cup crown.
The Lions weren’t short of recognisable talent, with the likes of Billy Boston, Frank Myler and Mick Sullivan starring, and they won all three of their games convincingly to top the table, with an all or nothing decider against Australia being held at Odsal in the final round of group games.
1968 – Australia and New Zealand
This was the first World Cup to straddle two nations, with games being played in Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.
A huge crowd of 62,256 piled into the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch Australia beat Great Britain on the opening day of the tournament and that set them on their way to a second World Cup victory.
The Australians saw off France in the final, with Lionel Williamson touching down twice.
1970 – England
Australia retained their crown on foreign soil two years later by beating Johnny Whiteley’s Great Britain in the final at Headingley.
The Lions had topped the group by winning all three of the group fixtures, including an 11-4 win over Australia, but the Southern Hemisphere side came good in the final, winning 12-7 in West Yorkshire.
Hull, Bradford, Wigan, Swinton and Castleford were also used as venues.
1972 – France
The last World Cup to be officially hosted by France and this was also the last time Great Britain or England have been victorious in the tournament.
Great Britain and Australia met in the final once more and this time the scores were tied, even after extra time, meaning the Lions were awarded the trophy after topping the group.
The final was held in Lyon, while group games were held at Marseille, Paris, Toulouse, Perpignan, Pau and Grenoble.
1975 – No recognised host nation
The seventh edition of the tournament was also referred to as the World Series and it was played across Australia, France, Wales, England and New Zealand over the course of the year.
Great Britain was divided into England and Wales and 20 group games were played with the five teams each playing four home and four away.
Ultimately, it was England and Australia who met in the final, at Headingley again, and the Aussies took it 25-0.
1977 – Australia and New Zealand
The Great Britain team was reunited two years later for the trip Down Under, but they didn’t have enough to see off the side in green and gold.
They saw off France and New Zealand comfortably in Auckland and Christchurch, but Australia were too powerful at Lang Park in the final round of group fixtures and once more in front of 24.457 at the SCG.
1985-1988 – No recognised host nation
Another change of format for the competition saw it spread over three years, with the first game being played in July 1985 and the final being held in October 1988.
It was the first time Papua New Guinea had been included in the tournament and it was also the first time New Zealand managed to reach the final, but they couldn’t overpower Australia at Eden Park.
1989-1992 – No recognised host nation
The format remained for the 10 th edition of the tournament, but this time Wembley Stadium had the honour of hosting the final, which was played out between Great Britain and Australia.
A record crowd of over 73,000 and the likes of Ellery Hanley, Martin Offiah and Garry Schofield couldn’t help the Lions to success, though, as the Mal Meninga-led Aussies won 10-6 at the national stadium.
1995 – England and Wales
The tournament was expanded to include 10 teams in 1995 as the traditional format returned and a host of new nations were welcomed in.
Brad Fittler lifts the trophy in 1995 (Image: SW Pix)
Ninian Park and Vetch Field were the only venues used outside of England, with the likes of Wigan, Gateshead, Leeds, St Helens, Hull, Halifax and Keighley being hosts.
England and Australia reached the final at Wembley, but the Australians won again.
2000 – United Kingdom, France and Ireland
With games being played in Paris, Albi, Carcassone, Toulouse, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh, the 2000 edition of the tournament was well and truly multinational.
Wendell Sailor and Lesley Vainikolo were amongst the stars of the tournament, scoring 10 and nine tries respectively and it came as no surprise to see their nations, Australia and New Zealand, meet in the Old Trafford final.
Australia picked up their sixth consecutive World Cup crown with a 40-12 win.
2008 – Australia
Games were scattered up and down the east coast of Australia in 2008 as the competition was reduced from 16 teams to 10.
England were beaten by New Zealand in the semi-finals and the Kiwis would go on to provide a huge shock by ending the Australians’ dominance of the competition and winning their first ever World Cup.
Lance Hohaia, Benji Marshall and Isaac Luke were amongst those to star in the final for Stephen Kearney’s side.
2013 – England, Wales, Ireland and France
This was the last time World Cup games were played in France, with games being played in Avignon and Perpignan, while Ireland had the opportunity to face Australia in Limerick.
For the third successive competition it was Australia and New Zealand battling it out in the final, but this time Australia got their revenge, winning 34-2 as Billy Slater, Brett Morris and Cooper Cronk scored tries in front of 74,468, the largest ever crowd for an international fixture.
2017 – Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
The most recent edition of the event was held across three countries, with Papua New Guinea playing all three of their group games in Port Moresby.
The final, held in Brisbane, was a tight one, with Australia picking up a 6-0 win over England.