The southern Asian nation of India is the latest team to commit to the upcoming Emerging Nations World Championship scheduled for Western Sydney in October / November 2018.
The Rugby League Federation of India representative side is set to join fellow Asian sides, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and Japan at the third iteration of the Emerging Nations tournament following an announcement earlier this week by the organisation.
The team, will be predominantly made up of players from the Rugby League Federation of India (RLFI) competitions which are based out of West coast state of Kerala.
Formed in late 2015, the RLFI has predominantly been focused on developing the code at the U15s – U17s with the organisation successfully hosting a series of National Championships a various age groups this year and a series of other irregular matches and beach tournaments.
Teams for these tournaments have come from the regional centres of Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Koyilandy, Ponnani, Guruvayur, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Despite the focus of the RLFI being predominantly on age based teams, the organisation aims to establish an open age competition and views the opportunity to take part in the Emerging Nations World Championship as a key step in helping the code both retain and attract new players.
Despite multiple attempts to establish the code in India over the past decade, the nation has never played an international Rugby League match.
The Emerging Nations World Championship is set to feature at least sixteen Tier Two / Three Rugby League nations with additional participants set to be announced in 2018.
Currently thirteen national representative teams have committed to the tournament, including the likes of Canada, Malta, Hungary and Latvia.