Have your say: Should the Exiles team return?

Drew Darbyshire

There has been rumours about an Exiles team returning to play annual games against England Knights and we want to know what you think of the idea.

Plans to create the Exiles rugby league team were proposed by then England coach Steve McNamara. The Exiles were a team made up of overseas players of Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island players contracted to Super League sides.

Super League clubs agreed to the concept and only a maximum of two players per-club were to be selected for the squad by public vote from fans and coach Brian McLennan.

And the idea came intro fruition in 2011 in a bid to provide England with a challenging opposition ahead of playing the likes of Australia and New Zealand.

The first ‘International Origin Match’ took place mid-season 2011, replacing the annual mid-season Test against France. It attracted a crowd of over 14,000 at Headingley as the Exiles just came out on top 16-12 in a thriller.

However, only three more games were played before the interest was lost. Crowds started to dwindle and the International Origin Match was last played in June 2013.

England v Exiles results:

2011 – Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds

England 12-16 Exiles (Attendance – 14,174)

2012 – Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens

England 18-10 Exiles (Attendance – 11,083)

2012 – John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield

England 20-32 Exiles (Attendance – 7,865)

2013 – Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington

England 30-10 England (Attendance – 7,926)

As you can see from the results above, the games were always close and competitive. There have been some great players for the Exiles over the years such as Sia Soliola, Joel Moon, Steve Menzies, Pat Richards, Mark O’Meley and Brett Hodgson.

There could still be a brilliant Exiles team, too.

England Knights do not have any international fixtures scheduled this year, although talks are believed to be ongoing after Paul Anderson named his 25-man Knights Performance Squad earlier this month. Would the Exiles not provide a stern and solid test for the Knights? Could the game be played the same weekend as England’s Test with New Zealand in Denver?

Or have the Exiles had their time and the Knights look for something else?

Let us know what you think in the comments below in the comments below.