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Rugby League officials plan to stage a nine-a-side World Cup in 2019 in a bid to help promote the sport, it was announced Wednesday.

A statement issued by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) said the November 2019 tours by England to Australia and New Zealand should be "complimented" by a Nines World Cup.

Standard rugby league is a 13-a-side a game, with Australia and New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, England, the dominant forces at international level.

But rugby union, itself traditionally a 15-a-side sport, received increased global exposure when Rugby Sevens made its Olympic debut at last year's Rio Games.

Now league chiefs hope the inaugural Nines World Cup, whose location has yet to be decided, can help their sport reach new audiences.

The announcements came following an RLIF board meeting which looked at ways of organising the international calendar around the already planned World Cups of 2017, 2021 and 2025.

Meanwhile English league chiefs have still to decide whether their side will travel to Australia and New Zealand as 'England' or revive the British Lions team, which took in players from all four Home Nations and last toured in 1996.

Further details about the exact composition of the international schedule are due to be decided later in the year.

But Wednesday's statement could spell the end of the biennial Four Nations.

First launched as the Tri-Nations in 1999, this has featured Australia, New Zealand and England plus one qualifier on a rotation basis from either Europe or a Pacific island nation.

"Whilst the detail of the matches will not be finalised until the autumn, RLIF is delighted to have identified a full programme for the next four-year cycle to enable the completion of the international calendar," said RLIF chairman Nigel Wood.