Great Britain rugby league Lions return from 12-year absence for autumn tour
Last Updated: 04/03/19 3:16pm
Great Britain will return to the international stage later this year on a four-game tour including two matches against New Zealand.
The Rugby League Lions have not played since 2007 but will be back in action in the autumn with a pair of games against the Kiwis plus matches against Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
England coach Wayne Bennett will take care of the team with further details of his staff and squad selection process to follow in the coming weeks.
"It's an honour to be involved in the revival of the Great Britain team as head coach," said Bennett.
"I've coached against them in the past with Australia, and wherever you're from in the world of rugby league, that Great Britain jersey is a famous one - and I'm sure the current generation of players will be excited by the prospect of wearing it and representing their country in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
"It's an exciting prospect for international Rugby League, and good to have that Great Britain tradition back."
Rugby Football League director Kevin Sinfield expects a number of faces who have not played for England, or any of the home nations, to be available, potentially including Warrington's Blake Austin and Jackson Hastings of the Salford Red Devils who qualify through their grandparents.
"I think people just want to be involved in a Great Britain tour and we'll consider anybody and everybody who qualifies," said Sinfield.
"It increases the number of players that have the opportunity to wear that jersey. What I can say is that we will not devalue that shirt or take someone as a token pick.
"I don't think that's fair to the players who have played in it in the past and actually does someone want to go as a token pick? I'm sure they don't."