England to host New Zealand in Hull, Liverpool and Leeds in 2018
By David Ronney
Last Updated: 22/11/17 1:59pm
International rugby league is set to return to the north of England in 2018 with New Zealand lined up to take on the hosts.
The Test series will take place in Hull, Liverpool and Leeds after opting against a return to London.
The opening match will take place at Hull's KCOM Stadium on October 27 and, following the success of the 2016 Four Nations final - which attracted a crowd of 40,042 for the clash between Australia and New Zealand - international rugby league will return to Anfield for the second Test a week later.
The series will conclude on November 11 at Elland Road, which will host its first Test match since the 2011 Four Nations decider between England and Australia.
Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood expressed his delight that international rugby is "returning to home soil" next year.
"Fans will be able to see some the biggest names in the game compete at three fantastic stadiums," Wood said.
"I am sure [all venues] will inspire the players and I am certain that England fans will help create incredible atmospheres at each of these grounds next year."
New Zealand were the number one ranked country in the world when they visited England for the 2015 Test series.
However, a defeat to Fiji in this year's World Cup saw the Kiwis make an early exit, failing to make the semi-finals.
England head coach Wayne Bennett is confident that the venues in the north will do a "great job" hosting the matches and its supporters.
"I know Anfield is new to the mix for England but seeing so many people attend the Four Nations final last year is promising for the game and I hope the fans will turn out in great number once again."
Bennett, whose contract with the RFL runs out at the end of the World Cup, has yet to rule himself out of helping to welcome next year's Test opponents.