Feed them to the Lions

Although the earliest British and Irish Lions rugby union tour was in 1888, in the grand scheme of things, the rugby league equivalent was not too far behind.

In 1908 Great Britain rugby league played their first test match and in 1910, then known as the Northern Union, the Lions toured the Southern Hemisphere.

The concept soon became the stuff of legend, thanks to the second tour down under in 1914, captained by Harold Wagstaff.

The Lions played three tests in eight days, with the opening two coming in the first 72 hours.

After winning one each the series came down to a decider in Sydney.

With the first two gruelling battles a factor, it is said the Lions only had ten fit players left by the end of the final match, but somehow managed to hang on for a 14-6 victory.

The third test was dubbed ‘Rorke’s Drift Test’, after a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War in which around 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended their garrison against a 3,000 strong Zulu assault.

Is there any sport with such glorious tales as rugby league?

New stories may soon be added to the history books, because after being redundant since 2007, it appears a touring Great Britain side could make a comeback.

Thanks to the interest the recent World Cup created in international rugby league, the concept is gaining momentum again – as it should.

No matter what squad a proposed Lions team could put together, a trip to Australia or New Zealand would see the tourists start as underdogs, but a chance to beat the best in their own back yard would make for a brilliant occasion.

Whether ‘non-rugby league’ fans buy into the series would surely not matter if the hype was big enough within the sport’s current community.

The tests would provide an alternative to club rugby league that can be looked forward to, especially with adequate coverage (we’re looking at you BBC) and a suitable time slot in the sporting calendar.

For me, seeing a British Lions team give their all against some of the greatest players the world has ever seen is a mouthwatering prospect, and it always will be.

Do you agree?

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