World Club Series

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World Club Series
Current season or competition:
2015 World Club Series
Sport Rugby league football
Instituted 2015
Number of teams 6
World Champions South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs (2015)
(1st Title)
Most titles Bullscolours.svg Bradford Bulls
Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters
(3 Titles Each)
Broadcast partner Nine Network
Sky Sports
Related competitions National Rugby League
Super League

The World Club Series is an annual rugby league football competition played between the champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League and two invited clubs from each competition, therefore six teams in total. The competition is an expanded form of the World Club Challenge which, until 2014, was a single match played at the beginning of each year between the two champions of each league. The two champions still compete in a single match for the World Club Championship trophy as in previous years, with the other four teams competing in, what are essentially, exhibition games.

The first such match was played in 1976 but did not become a regular fixture until the late 1980s. It was also punctuated in the 1990s by the Super League war but has been held every year since 2000. The South Sydney Rabbitohs are the current champions, having defeated St Helens 39–0 in 2015.

As the World Club Series championship match is a match between the premiers of the National Rugby League and Super League, it has been possible for teams from New Zealand, France and Wales to win it as well as England and Australia, however, to date only English and Australian sides have competed in and won the World Club Challenge.


1976–2014: World Club Challenge[edit]

Main article: World Club Challenge

The competition began so 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.[1]

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[2]

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.[3] However this didn't eventuate.

2015-present: World Club Series[edit]

In September 2014 it was announced that the World Club Challenge name would be changed to the World Club Series with six clubs participating - 3 from each league.[4] It took place between February 20–22, 2015, and featured three matches, the first and second essentially being two exhibition games and the final game being for the Championship trophy between the two respective premiers as in previous years.[5] The first World Club Series was won outright by the Australian with St George Dragons and Brisbane Broncos narrowly beating Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors in the first two games to win the series and South Sydney thrashing St Helens 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.


The NRL does not set any specific needs for qualify for the World Club Series apart from the Grand Final winner to play in the World Club Challenge


In 2015 the competition was expanded to contain two exhibition matches before the World Club Challenge. The competition takes place over one weekend with the World Club Series being played on Friday and Saturday and the World Club Challenge being played on Sunday.

World Club Series[edit]

The first two games are between the Super League League Leaders and Challenge Cup winners of the previous season and two teams that are sent over from the NRL. The NRL does not specify any criteria that teams have to meet to qualify. The World Club Series trophy is awarded to the team representing the nation that won the series by winning both games or won one game by a greater margin than the team playing the other game won.

World Club Challenge[edit]

The World Club Challenge is the final game of the weekend and is played between the Super League and NRL Champions. The winner of this game is given the World Club Challenge trophy and is considered the best club side in the world.

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* Titles (Last)
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 1987 Brisbane, Queensland Suncorp Stadium 52,500 2 (1997)
South Sydney colours.svg
South Sydney Rabbitohs 1908 Redfern, New South Wales ANZ Stadium 84,000 1 (2015)
St. George colours.svg
St George Illawarra Dragons 1998 Sydney, New South Wales WIN Jubilee Oval 22,000 1 (2011)
St Helens 1873 St Helens, Merseyside Langtree Park 18,000 2 (2007)
Warrington Wolves 1876 Warrington, Cheshire Halliwell Jones Stadium 18,000 0
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester DW Stadium 24,057 3 (1994)

*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.


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 Dragons 18-12 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves Halliwell Jones Stadium
Game 2 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 14-12
(golden point)
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors DW Stadium
World Club Challenge South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 39-0 Saintscolours.svg St Helens Langtree Park
2016 Game 1 Challenge Cup Winners TBD Challenge Cup Winners TBD
Game 2 League Leaders TBD League Leaders TBD
World Club Challenge Grand Final Winners TBD Grand Final Winners TBD


Rank Club Appearances Wins Runners-Up
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 1 (0) 2015 (1)
5 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 1 (0) 2015 (1)
6 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 1 (0) 2015 (1)
Country Wins
1  Australia 1
2  United Kingdom 0



City Stadium Years
1 England Wigan DW Stadium 2015
2 England Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium 2015
3 England St Helens Langtree Park 2015



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. ^ Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "Wigan prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Hadfield, Dave (1998-09-23). "League proposes show in S Africa". The Independent (UK: Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^


External links[edit]