World Club Series

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World Club Series
Current season or competition:
2016 World Club Series
Sport Rugby league football
Instituted 2015
Number of teams 6
Country  Australia
 England (RFL[1])
Series winners Australia NRL (1st title)
Most titles Australia NRL (1 title)
Broadcast partner Nine Network
Sky Sports
Related competitions World Club Challenge
Super League
National Rugby League

The World Club Series is an annual rugby league football competition played between the clubs from the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League. The competition includes the World Club Challenge, a single match played between the two champions of each league.

The first series was played in 2015, while the World Club Challenge was first contested in 1976.


1976–2014: World Club Challenge[edit]

Main article: World Club Challenge

The competition began unofficially in 1976 as a match between Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and Premiership winners St Helens. In 1987, another unofficial match took place when Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay invited Manly-Warringah to Central Park.[2]

The first official World Club Challenge was between Widnes and Canberra in 1989. Three further matches, each involving Wigan, were staged in the early 1990s with the 1994 match being staged in Australia. This would be the last time for 20 years that this would happen.

If only we could see a genuine contest between Wigan and Brisbane – a World Club final. Alas, it will never happen. Oh sure, a game might be arranged, but logistics dictate that one side would be out of season, rusty or tired, and away from home.

The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1992[3]

After the 1994 match logistical issues meant the concept was put on hiatus until it was revived in 1997. With the outbreak of Australia's Super League War in 1995, the World Club Challenge was not staged again until 1997 when the competition was restructured to include twenty-two clubs from the Australian and European Super Leagues. With six rounds in two hemispheres and $1,000,000 prize money, the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage and reportedly lost over $5,000,000. This, coupled with the poor ratings and attendances both in Australia and Europe, led to the competition being postponed for two seasons.

Returning to a one-off match between the League champions in 1998, a World Club Challenge as a show-piece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was mooted.[4] However this didn't eventuate.

2015-present: World Club Series[edit]

In September 2014 it was announced that the World Club Challenge would be expanded, with four extra clubs participating in the World Club Series.[5] The first edition took place between 20 and 22 February 2015 and featured three matches, the first and second essentially being two exhibition games and the final game being for the World Club Challenge match between the two respective premiers as in previous years.[6] The first World Club Series was won outright by the Australians with St. George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos narrowly beating Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors in the first two games to win the series and South Sydney beating St Helens RFC 39-0 in the World Club Challenge, which was the biggest winning margin in the history of the competition.


Super League[edit]

The three teams from Super League that's qualify to play in the World Club Series are:

  • Challenge Cup Winners
  • League Leaders
  • Grand Final Winners

If a team wins both Challenge Cup and League Leaders Shield then the Grand Final runners up will qualify. If a team completes the treble then the RFL will decide who the third team will be.


During the first Series in 2015, the NRL did not specify any specific qualification to play in the World Club Series. From 2016 however the three teams that qualify are:

  • Minor Premiership Winners
  • Grand Final Runners Up
  • Grand Final Winners

If a team were to win both Minor Premiership and Grand Final then the team finishing second in the league would qualify unless they reached the Grand Final in which case the third placed team would qualify.

List of participants[edit]

  • Only contains clubs who appeared in the World Club Series from 2015 onwards.
World Club Series Participants
Colors Club Established City Stadium Capacity*
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 1987 Brisbane, Queensland Suncorp Stadium 52,500
Leeds Rhinos 1864 Leeds, West Yorkshire Headingley Carnegie Stadium 21,000
North Queensland colours.svg
North Queensland Cowboys 1995 Townsville, Queensland 1300SMILES Stadium 26,500
South Sydney colours.svg
South Sydney Rabbitohs 1908 Redfern, New South Wales ANZ Stadium 84,000
St. George colours.svg
St George Illawarra Dragons 1998 Sydney, New South Wales WIN Jubilee Oval 22,000
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
Sydney Roosters 1908 Sydney, New South Wales Allianz Stadium 45,500
St Helens 1873 St Helens, Merseyside Langtree Park 18,000
Warrington Wolves 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 15,500
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 24,057

*capacity for rugby league games may differ from official stadium capacity.


Key to list of winners
Game went to Golden Point extra time
See World Club Challenge for list of finals before 2015.
Year Game Result Stadium
Winners Score Runners-up
2015 Game 1 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra 18-12 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium
Game 2 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 14-12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan DW Stadium
World Club Challenge South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 39-0 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Langtree Park
2016 Game 1 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Vs Saintscolours.svg St Helens Langtree Park
Game 2 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Vs Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane DW Stadium
World Club Challenge Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Vs North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Headingley Carnegie Stadium


Rank Club Appearances Wins Losses
1 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 1 2015 (1) (0)
2 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra Dragons 1 2015 (1) (0)
3 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 1 2015 (1) (0)
4 Saintscolours.svg St Helens RLFC 1 (0) 2015 (1)
5 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 1 (0) 2015 (1)
6 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 1 (0) 2015 (1)

* Bold: World Club Challenge Game

Series Wins[edit]

Country Wins Years
1  Australia 1 2015
2  England 0



City Stadium Years
1 England Wigan DW Stadium 2015, 2016
2 England St Helens Langtree Park 2015, 2016
3 England Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium 2015
4 England Leeds Headingley Carnegie Stadium 2016



Year City Stadium Attendance
2015 Wigan DW Stadium 20,842


Year City Stadium Attendance
2015 Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium 13,080


Period Sponsor Name
2015- AFEX AFRX World Club Series

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sky Sports (2009-03-02). "RFL cool on bigger Challenge". BSkyB. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  2. ^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "Wigan prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Townsend, David (27 September 1992). "Just a Touch of the Old Dart". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 47. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1998-09-23). "League proposes show in S Africa". The Independent (UK: Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  5. ^
  6. ^


External links[edit]