Kangaroos tours of UK back on agenda

NRL heavyweight Shane Richardson is hoping to see old-fashioned three-Test Ashes series against Great Britain back on the rugby league calendar.

One of the key recommendations in Richardson’s long-awaited blueprint to grow the game announced on Tuesday was the return of meaningful Kangaroo tours of the UK and France.

While he couldn’t envision months-long tours like the old days of the 1978 Invincibles and 1982 Unbeatables, the NRL’s head of game strategy and development is pushing hard for more famous battles with the Lions.

With England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland now all challenging individually for World Cup glory, Australia haven’t played Great Britain as such since hosting the Lions for two Tests in 2006.

It’s been more than a decade since the Kangaroos played the Lions in a three-Test series in the UK, but that could all change with Richardson proposing the introduction of a dedicated international window.

“That whole window that we’ve created for international rugby league at the end of the season brings back a whole lot of opportunities to grow the game and it’s really exciting,” he told AAP.

“The resumption of an Ashes Tour would be fantastic.

“I don’t think we’ll be playing 26 games, but it will be against the Lions, not just England, and it will be a big deal.

“We’ll sell out Wembley and we’ll sell out wherever we go.”

Richardson admitted the dynamics and logistics of any such Kangaroos tours were some way off being determined but he said Tests against France were also definitely part of the eight-year plan.

“And we’ll probably take an emerging Kangaroos side away with us as well to try and grow the game over there too,” he said.

“We’ve got to discuss it. There’ll certainly be four Test matches but we’ll discuss the other things like possible mid-week matches later on.”

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