England to face New Zealand in 2015
England will host New Zealand in a three-match international series in the autumn of 2015, the first time the two nations have met in this country since last year’s epic Rugby League World Cup semi-final.
The series provides fans with their first opportunity to watch England on home soil since the last-minute defeat to the Kiwis at Wembley last November, a match that was voted as the stadium’s most memorable sporting moment of 2013.
New Zealand will also host England in Dunedin in the Four Nations this autumn but England coach Steve McNamara is already keenly anticipating the Kiwi tour next year.
McNamara said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the Kiwis in 2015 and building on the rich tradition of international Rugby League between the two nations.
“A three-match series against a team like New Zealand will provide an intensive test for us and, as history has shown, is guaranteed to bring out the best in the England players.
“After the massive crowds we had behind us in the World Cup, it’s going to be great to play on home soil again and I’m sure the Kiwi tour will provide a memorable end to what is going to be a momentous year for the sport in this country.”
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “We are delighted to host the New Zealand Rugby League team in 2015.
“The semi-final between England and the Kiwis in 2013 was one of the best international games between nations who have a history going back to 1907 and we are in for treat when these two teams meet again.
“Following the Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand this year, we were keen to give our fans the opportunity to watch England at home and I am sure the Kiwi tour will be a huge drawcard.”
The last time New Zealand toured England was in 2007 when the Kiwis played Tests against Great Britain in Huddersfield, Hull and Wigan. The host nation won that series 3-0 but 12-months later the Kiwis bounced back to win Rugby League World Cup 2008.
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said: “Whenever we’ve toured England in the past, it has proved very challenging in terms of facing them on home soil. The World Cup was really the first time we’d won there in quite some time.
“When you look at the way their players have continued to develop in the NRL, you can see it will be a real contest and vital towards our preparation for the World Cup in 2017.”
New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Phil Holden believes this is the perfect preparation for his side ahead of the next World Cup.
“We’re excited to return to England, which is still buzzing from the success of that World Cup tournament,” he said.
“It will give us another chance to build on the intense rivalry between these two sides and will provide the Kiwis with another important stepping stone as we build towards the next World Cup in 2017, co-hosted here and in Australia.”
Details of fixtures and ticket availability will be announced in mid-November.Comment on this and other stories on the Total Rugby League Fans Forum