The Super League have released a statement expressing their disappointment at the decision of Australia and New Zealand to pull out of this year’s World Cup.
Organisers confirmed last week that the tournament would be going ahead in England as scheduled through October and November.
However, there had been a growing number of reports that NRL clubs and players were hesitant about going over at a time where Covid-19 cases were on the rise.
Super League have called the announcement “astonishing”, given that they broke the news and gave organisers minutes to react.
Chairman Ken Davy said: “The organisers have done everything possible to provide both nations with strong evidence of the robust protocols and procedures to keep players safe.
“It is quite astounding that athletes from Australia and New Zealand are about to compete in the Olympics, in addition to the Australian and New Zealand rugby union teams being in the UK this Autumn, yet their rugby league counterparts have decided to withdraw.
“The UK has already shown that it can successfully deliver a major international event in EURO 2020, under far stricter conditions to those anticipated in the Autumn.
“We are fully behind Jon Dutton and his RLWC2021 team. We continue to offer Super League’s utmost support to the tournament organisers given the significant benefits this event can deliver for the sport.”