The itinerary for the first Great Britain Lions tour was confirmed in Auckland overnight, which features Test matches against New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
It will be the first ever Test between the Lions and the Mate Ma’a – who enjoyed a stunning Rugby League World Cup in 2017 as they were just knocked out by England in the semi-finals.
Great Britain will face Tonga on Saturday, October 26 – two weeks after the Super League Grand Final – at the 25,000-capacity Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, south of Auckland.
Then on Saturday, November 2 – Wayne Bennett’s tourists will play the first of two Tests against the Kiwis at Eden Park – part of a triple header which also features matches between Fiji and Samoa, and Australia versus Tonga, both in the new RLIF Oceania Cup.
The GB squad will then travel down to New Zealand’s South Island for the second Test against New Zealand on November 9 in Christchurch. That game is part of a double-header with another Oceania Cup fixture this time between Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
The tour will conclude on November 26 when the Lions face the Kumuls in Port Moresby. It will be the first time a GB team have played in Papua New Guinea since 1996, and the first time in Port Moresby since 1990.
The combination of the GB tour, the RLIF Oceania Cup and also the Rugby League World Cup Nines in Sydney on the weekend of October 19-20, which will feature the England men’s and women’s teams, makes 2019 a huge year for the international game.
The Oceania Cup features two pools of three teams – Australia, New Zealand Tonga in Pool A, with Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea in Pool B.
The competition begins on June 22 when New Zealand face Tonga in an eagerly-anticipated match at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium, while Campbelltown in Sydney hosts the opening match in Pool B between Samoa and PNG – in a double-header also giving the Cook Islands a chance to impress against Fiji.
Australia open their Oceania Cup campaign against the Kiwis in Wollongong on October 25 – the night before Great Britain take on Tonga in Hamilton.
2019 international fixtures:
Great Britain tour – v Tonga (Hamilton, Oct 26), v New Zealand (Eden Park, Auckland, Nov 2), v New Zealand (Christchurch, Nov 9), v Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby, Nov 16).
RLIF Oceania Cup Pool A – New Zealand v Tonga (Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland, June 22); Australia v New Zealand (Wollongong, Oct 25), Tonga v Australia (Eden Park, Auckland, Nov 2).
RLIF Oceania Cup, Pool B – Samoa v PNG (Campbelltown, June 22); Samoa v Fiji (Eden Park, Auckland, Nov 2); Fiji v PNG (Christchurch, Nov 9)