3 Feb 2015

Sport: RLIF keen to see international teams involved in Auckland Nines

12:52 pm on 3 February 2015

The Rugby League International Federation says it's keen to talk with the NRL about including national teams in future editions of the Auckland Nines.

Australian clubs and various nations previously competed in a rugby league world sevens tournament, which ended in 2004.

The nine-a-side format has grown in popularity in recent seasons off the back of the Auckland Nines, while 30 teams from five continents and the Pacific competed in the Cabramatta Nines in Sydney.

The RLIF's International Development Manager, Tas Baitieri, believes the time is right for a modern revival.

"We've kept this wildcard entry concept going now for 13 consecutive seasons - why couldn't we look at that [with the NRL Nines]? Auckland or New Zealand Rugby League could put on a Nines the week before with domestic teams and maybe Fiji could do that as well [and] Papua New Guinea, and then have the winners of those events all come to the main event, which would be the NRL Nines out of Auckland. It's probably a pipe-dream at the moment but something we'd like to discuss and see if it can become a reality one day".

Tas Baitieri says the nines has been very successful in helping the growth of rugby league in emerging nations, like the Pacific, and he expects it to be an agenda item at the next RLIF meeting.