Time to bring back Great Britain

In my eyes, rugby league IS the greatest game on earth and I would much rather watch a game between North Wales Crusaders and Gloucestershire All Golds than a Premier League football match.

But there is something missing from the game and it needs to be brought back and that is the Great Britain Rugby League team.

I have to admit I don’t have much love for the other code and it hurts me to write this but I am so envious of their international set-up and especially the Lions Tours.

This weekend the British & Irish Lions start their tour of Australia with a friendly against Barbarians in Hong Kong before heading Down Under to play a number of Super Rugby sides and a three Test series against the Wallabies.

Imagine if that was Great Britain once again it would be fantastic, I know because of the way the Super League and NRL season’s run against each other we could never fully recapture the old Ashes tours but surely something is better than nothing.

I know people will not agree and especially in a World Cup year, but I don’t think splitting Great Britain into England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland has worked – we are no closer to beating Australia in a major tournament that we were 20 years ago.

I have no doubt the split was made to try and replicate the attendances seen in the Six Nations in the other code where England can host over 80,000 at Twickenham and Wales can pack out the Millennium Stadium – Unfortunately our sport cannot do that.

International rugby league is a joke at the minute and bringing back Great Britain and possibly the Ashes tours will bring back some excitement and quite possibly see a team full of British players rather than a team with a few token selections.

I know it is not possible to bring back the full tours we used to have because both the Super League and NRL seasons play alongside each other, but surely a three match Test series and possibly a game against the champions is not out of the question.

The last time we had a Great Britain was back in 2007 when the Lions defeated New Zealand 3-0 in a three match series and I seriously think it is time to reconsider this format before international rugby league dies.

Now I enjoy the World Cup and I will be fully supporting England and I honestly will be hoping they can win the competition in front of a sell-out Old Trafford, but I would take more pleasure seeing a Great Britain team full of genuine players battling it out.

I know there has been some recent talk about bringing back Great Britain but at the time of writing nothing has come through and we are all just waiting again.

Some of my earliest memories are of walking up in the early hours of the morning with my dad watch Great Britain take on Australia with Mike Gregory racing 80 metres to seal a memorable third Test win and whether I’m being selfish or not I don’t care, I want some new memories.

Despite what others may say, Super League is a very good and competitive competition with a raft of quality home grown players stepping up and I don’t mean any disrespect to the likes of Chris Heighington, Jack Reed and Rangi Chase but they shouldn’t be playing for England.

Going back to Great Britain would stop this ridiculous trend in checking the small print on passports to let Australian or New Zealand born players turn out.

I cannot be on my own in wanting Great Britain to return and I know I am not on my own wanting a player like Danny Brough to get the international honours he deserves instead of Rangi Chase. Brough has yet to make his mind up on whether or not he represents England or Scotland in this year’s World Cup – He could either be part of a set-up that has a good chance of reaching the final or a nation that may struggle to make it through the group stages.

Surely a player of his talent should have the opportunity to play with the same quality of players and bringing back Great Britain would not only do that but it would most definitely turn him into a better player.

This week’s column could have easily been about how superior the NRL is to the Super League or the debacle at the Magic Weekend in which video referee Steve Ganson, but the former can be discussed on Bettingpro.com.au and the Ganson saga has been flogged to death already and it is time to move on and concentrate on something that could enhance this great game rather than highlight its flaws.

Anyway, what do you think – Should Great Britain and Ashes tours return or should we keep it as England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales?

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