The Rugby Football League have welcomed the outcomes of this week’s International Federation meeting, which involve England playing a home series against Australia in 2020, and a Great Britain tour to the southern hemisphere next autumn.
After a four-day Congress based in York, the Federation have approved in principle an eight-year rolling calendar from 2019.
“The next three years are vitally important to our England teams and the game in this country as we prepare to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cups,” said Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the RFL.
“The development of the England team over the last 18 months, reaching the final of the 2017 World Cup and then earning three wins against New Zealand in 2018, has been so encouraging – and there’s an obvious demand from our players and supporters to play a series against Australia.
“The prospect of hosting a three-match Ashes series in 2020, for the first time since 2003, is therefore an exciting one. We’re delighted that the Australians are all so keen on getting behind that concept – and coming in 2020, the series can only build anticipation for the World Cup the following year.
“Planning for RLWC 2021 is already well underway, as the tournament’s chief executive Jon Dutton indicated this week – and now we can start our preparations to welcome the Kangaroos in 2020.
“We’ve been working to revive Great Britain as a touring team for several years now, and therefore hope the RLIF are able to deliver a workable itinerary for 2019 before Christmas, as their chief executive has indicated.
“Providing high-level international competition for our England men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams has never been more important, for our players or supporters, and it’s good to see the RLIF and its members tackling that challenge.”