GB tour and Oceania Cup a huge positive for international rugby league

2017 World Cup - Tonga v England semi -final

The 2019 Great Britain Lions tour and the Oceania Cup promises to be the most significant international programme in recent years.

With GB taking on Tonga and New Zealand, as well as travelling to Papua New Guinea to face the Kumuls, there will already be a lot of attention on the international game.

Australia will take on the Kiwis and Tonga for the Oceania Cup, while Samoa, Fiji and PNG will play in the Oceania Shield and promotion to the cup competition is up for grabs.

RLIF General Manager Southern Hemisphere, Jeremy Edwards, said: “It is the first time in many, many years we have got some meaningful content into the Pacific.

“The Oceania Cup competition finally gives the nations down here a bit of respect.”

The winner of the Oceania Cup will replace Australia, who are expected to tour England next year, in the cup competition in 2020.

That also means that Cook Islands will step up in to the shield competition.

Edwards added: “That not only gives the top team in Pool B a chance to move into Pool A, but allows us to bring in the Cook Islands to Pool B.

“The Cook Islands has produced some incredible rugby league players and they are doing really well at the moment. They have got a match in November against the USA for the final position in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

“There is some really exciting stuff happening down here in the Pacific.”

More on GB tour

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Wayne Bennett feeling nostalgic over Great Britain return

Ian Watson and Danny Ward appointed Great Britain assistants

Heritage players will be considered for Great Britain, admits Wayne Bennett

Great Britain Lions fixtures and Oceania Cup dates confirmed

Edwards said the return of the Great British Lions after a 12-year hiatus was also a huge positive for the international game.

“To be able to reinvigorate that and bring them down to this part of the world is really fantastic,” he said.

“And the desire for the Lions to go to Papua New Guinea to play the Kumuls says a lot about the development of rugby league in the Pacific. These matches open up so many doors for tourism and government opportunities – I think it is sensational.”

Tickets to the Great Britain Rugby League Lions tour and Oceania Cup match tickets are on-sale today at

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