The 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England has officially been postponed to 2022.

The news had been anticipated since Australia and New Zealand pulled out of the tournament a fortnight ago, citing safety fears amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers initially vowed to press ahead with the tournament in the autumn without two of the big three but were forced to acknowledge defeat as all 16 NRL clubs backed the boycott.

A Rugby League World Cup statement read: "Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) and the UK Government have today announced their intention to stage the flagship event in the international Rugby League calendar in 2022.

"The extremely difficult decision was taken by the RLWC2021 Board, which includes representation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the International Rugby League (IRL) Board.

"This follows extensive and urgent consultation conducted by RLWC2021 Chief Executive Officer Jon Dutton and his team, which engaged players, competing nations, the Rugby League Players Association (Australia), UK Government, hosts, commercial and broadcast partners."