Kangaroo tour of Great Britain proposed for 2019

Rugby League
Nigel Wood
Nigel Wood

Australia have proposed a Kangaroo tour of Great Britain in 2019 as part of a revamped four-year international calendar.

If implemented, the first solo trip to England by Australia since 2003 would replace the planned return of the British Lions tour down under in 2019.

Many of the proposals brought by Australia Rugby League chairman Peter Beattie have already been formulated by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF ), including an international nines tournament for 2019.

But Beattie is also proposing two separate Four Nations Series to be held in both the northern and southern hemispheres in 2020 and an England tour of New Zealand in 2022.

If Beattie gets his way, last month's historic Test between England and New Zealand in Denver will not be repeated in 2019, although there are still plans to kick off the NRL season in the United States next year.

Beattie said the NRL's plans will be presented to the RLIF meeting in Singapore later this month and consultation will take place with the Rugby Football League as well as New Zealand and the Australian players association before the calendar is finalised.

"Many of the biggest stars of our game will tell you that a Kangaroo tour was the highlight of their career," Beattie said.

"With the revival of interest in international rugby league, there is no better time to revive the Kangaroo tour and reward our finest players with a three-Test series in Great Britain."

Beattie said the proposed calendar for 2019-22 would provide more opportunities for Pacific nations to compete on the bigger stage.

It includes a new Oceania Cup in 2019 between New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to be played in June and October, and Four Nations tournaments held in 2020 in the southern hemisphere featuring Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa and in the northern hemisphere featuring England, France, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Beattie added: "We saw during the World Cup how the Pacific Nations emerged as genuine rivals for the top tier nations - and thrilled fans at the same time. We are presenting a four-year calendar which can be repeated and replicated in future cycles to give the international game more certainty and exposure.

"Those tournaments and events will be book-ended by a World Cup every four years. A key to this proposal is that we are giving emerging nations the opportunity to become genuine competitors with the tier one nations. But we will do it by confining international tournaments to fixed windows to ensure the well-being of our players."

New RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood was not available for comment.

Meanwhile, Tonga's run to the semi-finals of the 2017 World Cup has enabled them to close the gap on the big three in the latest world rankings issued by the RLIF.

Australia remain top but England's win over New Zealand in Denver sets up the three-match autumn series between them as a battle for second place,

Scotland are seventh and Ireland and Wales are 11th and 12th respectively.

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