World Club Series

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Dacia World Club Series
Current season or competition::
2017 World Club Series
Sport Rugby league
Instituted 2015
Number of teams 6
Country  Australia
 England (RFL[1])
Series winners England Super League (1st title)
Most titles Australia NRL (2 titles)
Broadcast partner Nine Network
Sky Sports
Related competitions World Club Challenge
Super League
National Rugby League

The Dacia 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 did not happen.

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 39-0 in the World Club Challenge, which was the biggest winning margin in the history of the competition.

In 2016 a possible expansion to 8 teams was suggested. This would see two games being played in Australia and two games being played in the UK. The World Club Challenge would be played alternatively between the UK and Australia each year and a new points system would be introduced to determine the series winners: one point would be awarded to the winners of the first four games and two points to the winners of the Would Club Challenge.

In 2017 however, the format was reduced to 4 teams due to NRL clubs refusing to play either Warrington Wolves or Hull F.C.. It was decided that the two games would be between Warrington Wolves vs Brisbane Broncos in the first game of the series. In the main game would be between the Super League Champions Wigan Warriors and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks. The series would be Super Leagues first victory since the series began, with Warrington winning 27-18 against Brisbane,[7] and Wigan beating Cronulla 22-6.[8]


Qualification rules in the two league competitions mean that, in theory, teams from six different countries could compete in the competition (though only five countries could be represented in any one tournament). English, French and Welsh teams compete in the English league system and so are eligible to win any of the three available cups. In recent years, the Scottish league champions have been invited to take part in the first round of the Challenge Cup and so are eligible to win that competition and qualify for the series. In the NRL, teams from Australia and one team from New Zealand compete and so could win their league to qualify.

Super League[edit]

The three teams from Super League that 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
Colours Club Established City League Apps
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 1987 Brisbane, Queensland Australia NRL 3
Cronulla colours.svg
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 1967 Sydney, New South Wales Australia NRL 1
Leeds Rhinos 1870 Leeds West Yorkshire England Super League 1
North Queensland colours.svg
North Queensland Cowboys 1995 Townsville, Queensland Australia NRL 1
South Sydney colours.svg
South Sydney Rabbitohs 1908 Sydney, New South Wales Australia NRL 1
St. George colours.svg
St George Illawarra Dragons 1998 Sydney, New South Wales Australia NRL 1
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
Sydney Roosters 1908 Sydney, New South Wales Australia NRL 1
St. Helens 1873 St. Helens, Merseyside England Super League 2
Warrington Wolves 1876 Warrington, Cheshire England Super League 2
Wigan Warriors 1872 Wigan, Greater Manchester England Super League 3

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


Key to list of winners
Game went to Golden Point extra time
World Club Challenge
Year Winners Score Runners-up Series Winners
2015 St. George colours.svg St. George Illawarra Dragons 18-12 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves Australia NRL
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 14-12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney Rabbitohs 39-0 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens
2016 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters 38-12 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens Australia NRL
Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 42-12 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors
North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland Cowboys 38-4 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos
2017 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves 27-18 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos England Super League
Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 22-6 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sharks


Rank Club Apps Wins Losses
1 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 3 (2) 2015, 2016 (1) 2017
2 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 1 (1) 2016 (0)
3 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 1 (1) 2015 (0)
4 Wigancolours.svg Wigan 3 (1) 2017 (2) 2015, 2016
5 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra 1 (1) 2015 (0)
6 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney 1 (1) 2016 (0)
7 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 2 (1) 2017 (1) 2015
8 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 2 (0) (2) 2015, 2016
9 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Rhinos 1 (0) (1) 2016
10 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 1 (0) (1) 2017

* Bold: World Club Challenge Game

Series Wins[edit]

Country Score Series Wins
1 Australia NRL 6 (2) 2015, 2016
2 England Super League 2 (1) 2017


City Stadium Years
1 England Wigan DW Stadium 2015, 2016, 2017
2 England St. Helens Langtree Park 2015, 2016
3 England Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium 2015, 2017
4 England Leeds Headingley Carnegie Stadium 2016



Year City Stadium Attendance
2017 Wigan DW Stadium 21,011


Year City Stadium Attendance
2017 Warrington Halliwell Jones Stadium 12,082


Period Sponsor Name
2015 none World Club Series
2016-2018 Dacia Dacia 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. ^ World Club Series Details Announced - Rugby League Week
  6. ^ Dragons to play in World Club Series -
  7. ^
  8. ^


External links[edit]