RFL chief executive Nigel Wood remains hopeful of a Great Britain tour down under next year – but says the onus has to be on the NRL to push the notion forward.
The return of a Lions tour to Australia in 2015 has been mooted for a long time, without any concrete details materialising. And while Wood says that the RFL remains committed to taking a team down under, he has urged the Australian authorities to begin providing details for the trip.
“We are hopeful that an invitation will be extended to tour as Great Britain in 2015,” Wood told Rugby League World magazine.
“It has been talked about for a number of years and everyone I’ve spoken to from the ARL say they are excited by it. We are certainly committed to it – we think it’s a terrific opportunity. It’s fine playing as England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales separately – that’s the right thing to do to respect those individual nations and we certainly need to do that for World Cups.
“But we’re missing an opportunity if we don’t bring everybody together at least once a cycle, and give people a chance to play in a white shirt with a red and blue vee as the British Lions. It’s an eminently commercially viable proposition, and we hope that people agree with us. However every day, week and month that goes by means that fewer people will be able to travel to support the team or be put under more pressure to afford to do so.
“We can’t invite ourselves to somebody else’s party – they have to decide that they’re having a party. We are hopeful that an invitation will be extended to tour as Great Britain in 2015.” – RFL Chief Nigel Wood
“It is for the hosts to extend the invitation. We can’t invite ourselves to somebody else’s party – they have to decide that they’re having a party.”
Although a Lions tour remains a possibility, it appears unlikely that it would include matches against club opposition.
“I think that’s complicated,” Wood explained.
“The Lions and Kangaroos Tours of the previous eras used to take place in-season, when we played August to May. You could play a mixture of international and club games. In the past we would go over in June, but that won’t be the case this time, it will be October/November.
“The club sides have broken up by then, and they won’t keep those club teams together training every day just to play one game. It’s more likely to be full tests, and then midweek games against representative teams of some description.
“But again, that’s one for the hosts to nail down.”