The buzz surrounding the current World Cup has been unprecedented; players from the Pacific Islands, Lebanon and Ireland have impacted the game - to an extent never seen before - so positively in their respective countries with their performances at the tournament. And, with the majority of the Rugby League fraternity talking about little else but the international game, governing bodies of respective countries and the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) have shown their eagerness to build on the current publicity by organising several international fixtures for the upcoming year.

Lebanon and the Pacific Tests

Lebanon Rugby League has been on a massive journey in the past few weeks; though the Cedars qualified for the 2000 World Cup they finished bottom of their group with just one point to their name.

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Wind the clock forward 17 years and they were at their second World Cup tournament, though nobody gave them a chance in a group which contained France, England and Australia. A fantastic 29-18 victory over France, a gutsy 29-10 loss to England and a 34-0 hammering by favourites Australia, was enough, however, to send Lebanon through to the quarter-finals. Not only was this an unprecedented achievement in the history of Lebanese Rugby League and one which sent media outlets in Lebanon into a frenzy of broadcasting, but, it also meant that Lebanon would automatically qualify for the 2021 World Cup in England.

The Lebanese fans - mainly in Sydney where a strong Lebanese-Australian community resides - have also made the headlines bringing colour, noise and atmosphere to the games against England and Australia, capturing the hearts of Sydney's Rugby League population.

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Meanwhile, the whole Lebanese nation was on tenterhooks as the brave Cedars narrowly missed out on a semi-final place courtesy of a two-point defeat to Tonga.

It is these performances on and off the field which has enticed the organisers of the Pacific Tests Invitational to include Lebanon in its 2018 schedule for the first time, with the Cedars 'close' to signing an agreement with PNG - a team themselves lauded following this year's quarter-final exit - for the representative weekend. And, after record sales last year for the Tests, and with the Pacific Island nations and Lebanon still on a massive high following their World Cup exploits, the 2018 Invitational has the potential to be it's most successful ever.

England-New Zealand Tests

As the whole of the nation has their eyes firmly fixed on England's progress in the World Cup, the RFL CEO, Nigel Wood, has announced that the Three Lions will play the Kiwis in three autumn internationals in 2018. Games between England and New Zealand have always been full of entertainment and drama, indeed, one just needs to - albeit reluctantly - remember the harrowing moment as Shaun Johnson broke English hearts in the last minute of the 2013 World Cup semi-final.

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And, with the 2017 World Cup still generating favourable Rugby League publicity, the RFL has rightly snapped at the opportunity to expand the international game after limited fixtures in recent years; in fact, it was 2015 since the Kiwis last visited these shores for a Test series when England lifted the Baskerville Shield in front a sell-out crowd a Wigan's DW Stadium.

The RFL also moved quickly to announce the venues at which the three games will be played. Hull FC's KCOM Stadium will be the first, Saturday 27 October with a 2.30pm kick-off time, with Liverpool's Anfield hosting the second game on Saturday 3 November again with a 2.30pm kick-off. Following Anfield's success at the 2016 Four Nations Final, where 40,000 spectators flocked to watch Australia beat New Zealand, this is perhaps a sensible, if obscure choice. The series will conclude at Leeds United's infamous Elland Road, Sunday 11 November at 3.00pm. Interestingly, there are no night matches and all will be played at the weekend; with Rugby League persistently advertising itself is a "family game", the RFL have undoubtedly set the best days and time possible to attract their target audience.

Potential Six Nations

Following Ireland's successful showing at this year's World Cup where they were harshly eliminated at the group stages despite winning two out of three games, Rugby League Ireland has been clamouring for a new type of competition to increase the game time and experience of the home nations' players. And, with Ireland making all the right noises, the RLIF has pencilled in a Six Nations on their calendar, although it is still to be confirmed.

Plans have already been made for England to play Ireland next autumn under the auspices of the brand new Six Nations' tournament. And, looking at the Rugby Union equivalent, the Rugby League Six Nations will include the same teams as those included in the other code's competition: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France. Critics may look at these sides and come to the conclusion that it will be an easy ride for England, given that England was the only team to make it past the 2017 World Cup group stages, but, these teams need this sort of competition to improve. After all, practice makes perfect and, three games at every quadrennial World Cup will not improve these sides; Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France need games to strengthen their national sides which will, in turn, strengthen Rugby League in the northern hemisphere - a necessity when considering that seven out of the eight quarter-finalists of this year's World Cup were from the southern hemisphere.

It is however unclear when the RLIF will divulge official information regarding a Six Nations, but, it is generally recognised that the tournament would take place at the end of the Super League season so, perhaps late October going into November. Yet this would clash with England's confirmed Tests with New Zealand. As such, the England Knights - an emerging talent side similar to Union's England Saxons - concept may return. This has however angered Ireland Rugby League whose Chairman Richard Egan spoke of his desire for the main England side to play for the tournament to be the "real deal". Whilst a potential Six Nations tournament is on the horizon with the tournament being one which could be widely popular, a number of issues, therefore, remain that need to be ironed out before it's given the green light.

Pacific Four Nations?

The impressive part that Fiji, Tonga, PNG and, to a lesser extent, Samoa have all played in this year's World Cup has not gone unnoticed. All four sides made it to the quarter-finals whilst Tonga and Fiji has, so far, advanced to the semis. Whilst the northern hemisphere needs a "Nations" tournament to improve the quality of most northern hemisphere teams, the southern hemisphere - and the Pacific Islands specifically - could do with a similar concept to take advantage of the current boom of publicity and positivity that the Pacific nations have generated in recent weeks and to take their teams to the next level - New Zealand have been conquered, Australia and England still remain.

From the dazzling talent and skill during a game to the incredibly moving hymns and war dances before and after a game, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and PNG have lit up the world and have won the hearts of the Rugby League fraternity to such an extent that a Pacific Four Nations could be one of the most celebrated tournaments that Rugby League has ever seen. I mean, who doesn't want to see the likes of Garry Lo using his wrecking ball features to smash into his opponents or those such as Kevin Naiqama wowing the audiences with wonderful skill again and again? The people who live in these four countries have the sport of Rugby League at the forefront of their hearts and minds and treat their respective players like deities; giving these populations another chance to see their heroes in a frenetic, bruising tournament can only benefit the game as a whole, swelling the love of Rugby League around the world. #RugbyLeague #RLWC2017 #RLWC17