The Lions Tour WILL take place in 2019 after plans for the international calendar were firmed up over the weekend in Singapore.
An RLIF meeting attended by the RFL, ARLC, NZRL, Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC) and Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) saw the future of the international game at the head of the agenda, with the end result seeing tours for the Lions, Kangaroos and Kiwis all locked in.
The ARLC had caused a stir last month when they outlined their own vision for the international calendar, one that was vastly different to the original proposals in place.
But the calendar has now been fixed up, with the key elements including:
- World Cups in 2021 and 2025
- Kangaroos Tour to UK in 2020
- Kiwi Tours to UK in 2018 and 2022
- Lions tours to southern hemisphere in 2019 and 2024
- Nines World Cups in 2019 and 2023
- 2019 Championships for the Pacific nations in a mid-and-end-of-season format
- 2018 European Championship (and then at two-year intervals)
- 2018 Australia v New Zealand Test (annually to 2022)
- 2020 New Zealand fixture(s) in the southern hemisphere
“There’s clearly still some detail to be finalised, but this is a fantastic announcement that has been a long time coming. It should give great heart and confidence to our international community,” RLIF Chairman John Grant said.
“It reflects the broad diversity that exists across our RLIF Member nations and we believe it can provide the certainty our fans, players and commercial stakeholders need to make long-term commitments to international rugby league.”