4th August 2019, 12:13 | englandrl
England Women will make history at the Downer World Cup Nines in Sydney this October - facing Papua New Guinea in the first-ever fixture in an International Women’s Nines competition.
The full draws for the men's and women’s tournaments were released today as tickets were also put on sale, with a busy programme of fixtures on Friday October 19 and reaching a climax on the night of Saturday October 20 - all at the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta.
The action will kick off with a match from England men's group, as France face Lebanon, before Craig Richards' team have the honour of launching the women's competition against the PNG Orchids.
That is immediately followed by the first match for England's men, against a Wales team who will also keen to make an impression on a rare trip to the Southern Hemisphere.
The Pacific Islanders then take over, with Tonga facing the Cook Islands and Samoa playing Fiji, before a double header of fixtures between Australia and New Zealand, in both the men's and women's competitions - with the first-night action ending with a men's match between PNG and the USA.
Wales and England are quickly back into the action on day two, which has a lunchtime start, with John Kear's team facing France in the second fixture of the day before Wayne Bennett's England take on Lebanon.
Then they have a couple of hours break during which England Women face the Australian Jillaroos, before the men complete their group fixtures with England playing France and Wales taking on Lebanon.
There is no room for error in England's group with only the winners reaching the semi-finals - which kick off at 6.55pm and 7.20pm, allowing the group winners a couple more hours to recharge and refocus.
England Women complete their group programme with the last of the 24 qualifying fixtures, at 6.05pm - against New Zealand's Silver Ferns.
The top two in the four-team Women's Group will then have an 80-minute break before the Final at 7.45pm, with the Men's Final following at 9pm.
England Women last week named a 16-player squad to prepare for the Nines, which is set to be followed by a two-Test tour of Papua New Guinea.
The England men's squad for the Nines will be announced on October 6 - the Sunday before the Betfred Super League Grand Final - as players from the teams who qualify for the Grand Final will not be considered for selection.
Full details of the draw, and ticket sales, are available from www.nrl.com.
England Women World Cup Nines training squad: Dannielle Anderson (Leeds), Caitlin Beevers (Leeds), Leah Burke (St Helens), Chantelle Crowl (St Helens), Jodie Cunningham (St Helens), Faye Gaskin (St Helens), Kelsey Gentles (Castleford), Amy Hardcastle (Bradford), Shona Hoyle (St Helens), Shannon Lacey (Leeds), Rhiannion Marshall (Castleford), Sinead Peach (Castleford), Georgia Roche (Castleford), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Tara-Jane Stanley (Castleford), Naomi Williams (St Helens).