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Apia, Samoa has been confirmed as hosts for the inaugural Rugby League World Nines Confederation Cup (WNCC) which will take place at Apia Park Stadium this October.

The tournament, which was launched on Tuesday in Apia, will feature 12 Men’s and 8 Women’s National Representative teams in what will be one of the largest International Rugby League events held in the Pacific nation.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi acknowledged the many benefits that Samoa stands to reap from the upcoming tournament.

“The magnitude of the World Nines tournament is the first of its kind in rugby league to be played on our home soil,” said Tuilaepa.

“While this will focus on international interest on Samoa as a sporting nation, it will also portray our capacity to host world events, and demonstrate the capabilities of our sports personnel and infrastructure that have made it possible to conduct and facilitate several international sporting events in the past.”

Tuilaepa also highlighted some of the crucial elements to justify the Government’s decision to host the tournament in Samoa this year.

“The tournament will benefit not just our athletes, as esteemed media coverage of Samoa as the Host County will benefit Samoa as a whole, while opportunities to expand knowledge of local coaches and referees in the rugby league code will be acquired at no cost. These were crucial elements in government’s decision to host this tournament in Apia.”

Players from professional Rugby League competitions, such as the National Rugby League and Super League, will not be eligible to take part in the inaugural WNCC tournament which is set to feature representative teams from Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas and the Pacific.

Confirmed participants for the WNCC include Australia, Samoa, China and India. Additional nations will be announced in the lead up to the tournament which will take place on October 22 – 24.