Four Nations spot for Euro winners
Published 01/08/2014 | 14:49
The winners of the 2014 European Championships will qualify for a place in the 2016 Four Nations Series, it has been confirmed.
France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will all be in action in the autumn for the first time since the 2013 World Cup, with the winners lining up alongside Australia, New Zealand and hosts England in the next Four Nations Series to be held in the northern hemisphere.
In the fixtures, which were unveiled on Friday, John Kear's first match as the newly-appointed Wales coach will be against Steve McCormack's Scotland, who reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup, at Workington's Derwent Park on Friday, October 17.
A day later, Mark Aston's Ireland will host Richard Agar's France at Tallaght Stadium, Dublin.
Scotland, who drew crowds in excess of 7,000 for their two World Cup group matches at Derwent Park, will also play in their own country, with the clash against France on Friday, October 31 taking place in Galashiels.
McCormack said: "Everyone involved in Scotland Rugby League is really pleased that arrangements for the European Championships are now in place, especially after hosting such a successful Commonwealth 9s in Glasgow.
"Following a very exciting World Cup, we see this as a very important part of the international calendar and we will be giving the tournament our full focus. It will be great to have international rugby league back on everyone's agenda here in October."
Ireland will return to Tallaght on Saturday, October 25, to play Scotland before rounding off their group games with a trip to Wrexham to take on the Welsh on Sunday, November 2.
Aston said: "The 2013 World Cup is still a fond memory but we are already looking forward to the next one in 2017.
"We've started to build something special with Ireland so it's very important that we carry on adding to the foundation we laid. The players really enjoyed the challenge of playing against three of the world's best teams in the competition and really started to gel."
There will be no final, with the team finishing with most points taking their place in the Four Nations Series for which France and Wales have qualified in the past.
Brian Juliff, chairman of Wales RL, said: "The Celtic nations and France recognise the importance of international competition on a regular basis.
"The announcement that 2014 will see us compete for a place in the prestigious Four Nations competition is welcome and very encouraging for the sport in Europe."