Today’s official news that the RL World Cup has been postponed until next year was a blow to several players based in Cumbria.
Apart from the home countries there were players hoping to represent the likes of Jamaica, Italy, Malta and Papua New Guinea.
The withdrawal of champions Australia, along with New Zealand citing “player welfare and safety concerns” related to COVID-19 immediately put doubts on the competition.
The World Cup, featuring men’s, women’s and wheelchair events, was set to start in Newcastle on 23 October.
Jon Dutton, chief executive of the tournament said “It became unfeasible and irresponsible for us to carry on.
“I think it will take some time for international rugby league to recover from this. I hope we can be a beacon of light.
“Certainly we’ve prioritised player voice and player choice, we know the players want to play, we took our responsibilities very seriously, and we are determined to stage the biggest and best ever rugby league World Cup.
“It’s a real shame that it cannot be this year but leadership is about making tough decisions, it’s about being responsible, and we’ve done this in the best interests of not just the tournament but of the sport of rugby league.”
Whitehaven have Callum Phillips (Scotland), Lachlan Walmsley (Scotland), Ryan King (Italy) Dion Aiye and Jessie Joe Parker (both Papua New Guinea) and Greg McNally (Ireland) potentially affected.
At Barrow they have Shane Toal, Charlie Emslie and Connor Terrell (all Scotland); Jake Emitt (Wales) and Ben Harrison (Ireland).
Workington have Joe Brown and Alex Young (both Jamaica) and Declan O’Donnell (Ireland).