The return of the Lions is good for rugby league, say Sky Sports pundits
Last Updated: 05/03/19 3:14pm
Barrie McDermott, Terry O'Connor and Phil Clarke react to the news that Great Britain will return to the international stage.
The concept of the Lions was put on hold back in 2007 to focus on strengthening Ireland, Scotland and Wales but they will reform in 2019 for their first overseas tour since 2006 as they take on New Zealand twice as well as Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
We caught up with Barrie McDermott, Phil Clarke and Terry O'Connor to get their reaction of the news.
Great Britain coming back is a big step forward. I felt it was narrow minded when England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales went their separate ways. If Great Britain and Ireland were separate it meant you had to sacrifice one for the other and it was a farce for international rugby league.
The Lions history and heritage represents so much more and is the dream of every child who plays Rugby League. Well done to the person who made the decision to bring it back.
Playing for Great Britain is the pinnacle of your career. It's a childhood dream growing up as a kid wanting to play on the international stage. It's important Great Britain has returned.
I played for Ireland and would never have changed back to England; so the absence of Great Britain during my career would have meant that I may have missed out on playing regularly against Australia and New Zealand. Being a British Lion is a prestige honour that no one can ever take away from you.
I am one of the biggest fans for international rugby league and know first-hand how important it is for players to have the chance to represent their country on a Tour Down Under. I was lucky to travel with Great Britain in the early 90s to Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand and have so many wonderful memories from those Tours.
We had Welsh and Scottish players like Jonathan Davies, John Devereux and Alan Tait and I am immensely proud to be able to say that I have a Great Britain jersey in my collection. I hope that the re-introduction of the GB name helps to motivate and inspire a new generation of players, and more importantly, provide the impetus for bigger crowds and greater support in general.
There were thousands of British supporters in Melbourne when Great Britain beat the Aussies in 1992 and I hope that there are thousands more this year who can enjoy a trip of a lifetime and some memorable rugby matches.
Great Britain fixtures in 2019
26 Oct: Tonga v Great Britain, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
2 Nov: New Zealand v Great Britain, Eden Park, Auckland
9 Nov: New Zealand v Great Britain, Christchurch Stadium
16 Nov: Papua New Guinea v Great Britain, Port Moresby