Rugby League: England v New Zealand three-match series confirmed
Last Updated: 04/09/14 10:31am
England have confirmed they will host a three-match series against World Cup finalists New Zealand in the autumn of 2015.
The news come after plans for the Great Britain Lions to embark on a tour of the southern hemisphere fell through, with the Australian rugby league authorities insisting their players were given a full off-season.
England last clashed with the Kiwis in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup at Wembley - a match which ended agonisingly for the hosts, who were edged 20-18 in the dying minutes thanks to Shaun Johnson's try at Wembley - and International Federation chairman Nigel Wood is relishing a chance at revenge.
The semi-final between England and the Kiwis in 2013 was one of the best international games between nations who have a history going back to 1907 and we are in for a treat when these two teams meet again.
Wood said: "We are delighted to host the New Zealand Rugby League team in 2015.
"The semi-final between England and the Kiwis in 2013 was one of the best international games between nations who have a history going back to 1907 and we are in for a treat when these two teams meet again.
"Following the Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand this year, we were keen to give our fans the opportunity to watch England at home and I am sure the Kiwi tour will be a huge draw card."
England coach Steve McNamara, whose current contract runs out this year, said: "We are looking forward to welcoming the Kiwis in 2015 and building on the rich tradition of international rugby league between the two nations.
"A three-match series against a team like New Zealand will provide an intensive test for us and, as history has shown, is guaranteed to bring out the best in the England players."
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney is similarly enthused following the announcement, adding: "Whenever we've toured England in the past, it has proved very challenging in terms of facing them on home soil.
"The World Cup was really the first time we'd won there in quite some time.
"When you look at the way their players have continued to develop in the NRL, you can see it will be a real contest and vital towards our preparation for the World Cup in 2017."