“International game in the best place it has been in a long time”

Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett believes the international stage is in a very healthy place right now.

The Lions will return after 12 years this autumn when they tour the southern hemisphere to face Tonga, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand twice.

And with the likes of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand playing regularly – Bennett believes the international game is on the rise.

He said: “The last time we had an Australia tour was in 1994 or something like that, but Super League then came along and put a pretty big hole in the international game.

“At one stage, it looked like internationals weren’t going to get going and you’ve got to understand that with the Sydney club competition for a number of people – they don’t think there’s any other competition in the world.

“People have got to understand whether its in your country or our country that they do want to play in Test matches. They want to play for the Kangaroos and Great Britain and it’s important that we never let that die.

“There’s been a fightback going on and I think international football is in the best place its been in a long time.

“The World Cup in Australia was great. I think England’s performance in that was good and to back it up against New Zealand has helped.

“Tonga’s emergence has been great and the Pacific Islands play this week in Australia which is really great. Tonga play New Zealand and State of Origin is on as well, so we want to be there next year, whoever they chose to play. We don’t want to miss out.”

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