The 2013 World Cup in Britain will feature 14 nations, following a change of direction by the game's International Federation.
The successful 2008 tournament in Australia consisted of just 10 countries and it was thought likely that the sport would walk a cautious line again. Instead, the format opens up opportunities for the likes of Wales, Lebanon and the Cook Islands, all of whom failed to qualify two years ago.
There will be 12 automatic qualifiers with preliminary tournaments in both northern and southern hemispheres to allocate the remaining two places. The RLIF chairman, Colin Love, said: "The format reflects rugby league's increased participation around the world."Reuse content