The iconic Great Britain jersey will return to the international stage this autumn.
The recent meeting of the Rugby League International Federation confirmed a four-match tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for the Great Britain Rugby League Lions – with full details of the schedule to be released in Auckland tonight.
It will be the first time Great Britain have played since the home series against New Zealand in the autumn of 2007, and their first appearance in the southern hemisphere since the 2006 Tri-Series – reviving a tradition which dates back to 1910, when the first touring team after the 1895 Northern Union breakaway were known as the Lions.
In addition to two Tests against the Kiwis and one against the Kumuls – the latter a first in Papua New Guinea since 1996 – Great Britain will play their first ever Test against the Tonga team who made such an impact in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, including in a stirring semi final against England in Auckland.
Wayne Bennett, who has been the England coach since 2016, will be the head coach of the 2019 Rugby League Lions, with further details of his support staff, the composition of the squad and the selection process, the kit design, and kick-off times and travel packages for the tour to follow in coming weeks. “It’s an honour to be involved in the revival of the Great Britain team as head coach,” said Bennett. “I’ve coached against them in the past with Australia, and wherever you’re from in the world of Rugby League, that Great Britain jersey is a famous one – and I’m sure the current generation of players will be excited by the prospect of wearing it and representing their country in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. “It’s an exciting prospect for international Rugby League, and good to have that Great Britain tradition back.”
Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said:“The return of the famous Great Britain jersey is something people have been talking about for a long time – so this is an exciting announcement for us. “It’s 12 years since Great Britain last played a Test, and 13 since they last travelled to the southern hemisphere, for the Tri-Nations series of 2006. “While the development of the England Performance Unit has been a priority and a success for the RFL, across Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Rugby League – and will continue to be as we build towards the 2021 Rugby League World Cup – there is such history and tradition around that Great Britain shirt. “It’s great for the game to have it back, as part of the schedule drawn up by the RLIF also including the Oceania Cup. We’ll be committed to respecting and honouring that tradition as we build up to the tour through 2019.”
The announcement has also been welcomed by senior figures from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Barry Coade, Chairman of Rugby League Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Great Britain & Ireland will tour again this Autumn. The tour looks like a real challenge given the rise of the Pacific nations and we think this is a big step forward for international Rugby League.”
Keith Hogg, the Chair of Scotland Rugby League, said: “Having the Great Britain team back is a boost for all of the home nations. We are proud of the contribution made by Scots to Great Britain Rugby League in the past, most obviously when Dave Valentine lifted the World Cup in 1954, and this announcement is a great incentive for young Scottish players to maintain that tradition in the future.”
Paul Chambers, General Manager of Wales Rugby League, said: “Wales Rugby League fully embrace and support the first Great Britain Rugby League tour to the Southern Hemisphere for many years. The whole concept of the Rugby League Lions adds another dimension to the ambitions of players and staff involved with all Home Nations and Wales Rugby League are looking forward to promoting and being involved in the process.”
Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for Thursday’s Betfred Super League fixture with St Helens at the AJ Bell Stadium, 7:45pm kick-off.
Mark Flanagan comes into the squad in place of Lee Mossop. Tyrone McCarthy and Daniel Murray retain their places after impressive showings at KCOM Craven Park last weekend.
Jake Bibby will be looking for his first start of the 2019 season. Tickets for Thursday’s game against St Helens are available to purchase at the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online HERE. Here is the full 19-man squad:
Ahead of last weekend’s opening home game of the Betfred Super League season against London Broncos, Salford Red Devils and Salford Red Devils Foundation were out at local community clubs giving out FREE Season Tickets.
Salford Red Devils players such as Joey Lussick, Jansin Turgut, Ben Nakubuwai and Daniel Murray visited local community clubs such as Langworthy Reds, Salford Roosters, Folly Lane ARLFC and Cadishead Rhinos giving out FREE season tickets to their youth players for the 2019 season.
Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “It is absolutely crucial that Salford Red Devils have strong, positive and working relationships with every one of our local community clubs.
“These youngsters are clearly interested in Rugby League and it is up to us to give them the platform to watch top-class Super League and give them something to aspire to.
“Some of these kids could be the next generation of Salford Red Devils players or fans and it is important that they have links with this fantastic Club as early as possible and giving them a free 2019 Season Ticket is the perfect way to do that.
“We are looking forward to welcoming a number of youngsters to the AJ Bell Stadium this season and we’re confident they will enjoy their experience and begin an affinity with the Red Devils!”
Salford Red Devils Foundation Manager, Neil Blackburn, said: “It was great for the Foundation to get out to the local community clubs and give out free Salford Red Devils Season Tickets.
“It is key for the Salford Red Devils Foundation to maintain strong relationships with our community clubs and engage with them on a regular basis. Last week was a perfect example of the great work the Foundation continue to do in the community.
“For us, seeing as many children at the game as possible each week is the aim and we want to promote both the Club and Foundation far and wide.”
Salford Red Devils 2019 ‘Golden Tickets’ are also now in local schools which sees juniors allowed to attend a Red Devils game for free with an accompanying adult. If you’re community club would like to get involved in this fantastic scheme, please E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 786 1590. And, if you’re a local school and would like to get some ‘Golden Tickets’ for a Red Devils fixture, please E-Mail email@example.com or call 0161 786 1590. We are #TogetherStronger.
Ellery Hanley MBE is to chair a panel of Rugby League greats in a radical revamp of the voting system to determine Super League’s most prestigious individual honour, the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel.
Hanley is the only man to have won the award three times – in 1985, 1987 and 1989 – since it was introduced in 1977, and renamed in 2014 in honour of Steve Prescott, the former St Helens, Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity full-back who fought such an inspirational battle after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
The panel will consist of 21 former players and coaches including former Men of Steel, and boasting a combined total of 46 Championship or Grand Final wins, 41 Challenge Cup winners’ medals – and sharing the common distinction of having made more than 200 career appearances.
Hanley attended today’s official launch of the 2019 Betfred Super League season at Old Trafford, which will stage the 22nd Grand Final on Saturday October 12 – with full details of the panel to be unveiled next month.
A member of the panel will watch each Betfred Super League game in 2019 and award points to the three outstanding players: 3 points for their chosen man of the match, 2 for the runner-up, and 1 for the third-ranked player.
The scores will be made public every week from the first round of the season – which begins with the St Helens v Wigan blockbuster next Thursday night (January 31) – until Round 22 in mid-July. After that, the poll will be hidden until the Awards Ceremony in October. Further details of that event will be released throughout the 2019 Betfred Super League season.
Robert Elstone, the Super League Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to able to announce a new, refreshed voting system for the Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel award. “Rugby League was a pioneer in introducing the Man of Steel title more than 40 years ago, recognising the importance of celebrating the players who give so much to make the sport special. “Who better, in that regard, to chair our new panel than Ellery Hanley MBE? A true great of the game, whose name still resonates well beyond it, and who is held in complete respect by the modern generation of players. “Ellery will lead a panel with outstanding credentials. Its unrivalled and extensive knowledge and experience will underpin the award’s credibility and by sharing the votes after each round, we will create interest and talkability all the way through to awards night. “We’d like to thank all of those involved in the new process and look forward to seeing the battle for the game’s ultimate individual award unfold over the course of the 2019 Betfred Super League season.”
The Rugby Football League have agreed an historic commercial partnership with Coral to include both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups in a two-year, seven-figure deal.
The two competitions will come together when the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final shares the stage with the men’s semi finals in a triple header at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday July 27.
The men’s Coral Challenge Cup Final will be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24. “This is a really significant day both for the Challenge Cup, and for women’s Rugby League,” said Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive. “The men’s Challenge Cup is one of the iconic competitions and trophies of British sport, with more than 120 years of history, and the famous Wembley final televised live to the nation and the world by the BBC. “The Women’s Challenge Cup may not have that history, but Coral’s enthusiasm for it to be part of a joint sponsorship deal confirms our determination that it is set for a really exciting future. “With Coral’s name now linked to both the men’s and women’s Challenge Cups, it’s equally exciting to be able to extend the double header for the men’s semi finals that proved such a big hit last year, and now incorporate the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup Final. “The University of Bolton Stadium proved a popular venue for the sold-out double header last summer, so we’re delighted to be going back for a triple header in 2019. “We are confident that thousands of the supporters of the teams who reach the semi finals of the men’s Coral Challenge Cup will also take the opportunity to watch the outstanding spectacle provided by our best women’s teams – and that will ensure their skills and athleticism are seen by the record audience they deserve.”
Adrian Osman, the Head of Sponsorship and Events at Coral, said: “The Rugby League Challenge Cup and the final at Wembley are flagship events in British sport, and we are delighted that Coral’s name will now be associated with them in this significant deal. In addition, the opportunity to get involved with women’s sport and the development of women’s Rugby League as the first title sponsors of the Women’s Challenge Cup is hugely exciting for us – and combining the final with the semi finals of the Coral Challenge Cup should produce another great event. We’re really looking forward to seeing the two competitions unfold through the spring and summer.”
Leeds Rhinos are the Women’s Challenge Cup holders, having beaten Castleford Tigers in a classic final at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium last summer.
The RFL also confirmed today that the 2018 Wembley winners Catalans Dragons will defend the Coral Challenge Cup, after reaching an agreement with the French club to end recent uncertainty about their participation.
They will enter the competition at the Sixth Round stage in May, having finished in the top eight of the Super League in 2018.
The teams who finished in the bottom four will enter in the Fifth Round in April.
The Road to Wembley begins this weekend, with 52 community clubs competing in First-Round ties from Portsmouth to Wallsend, and featuring Sunday’s meeting on the Cumbrian coast between the oldest amateur club in the country, Millom, and the Challenge Cup newcomers Red Star Belgrade – which will be streamed live on the BBC Sport online platforms.
The Trans-Pennine battle between Orrell St James and Holmfirth’s Underbank Rangers will be shown live on the RFL’s Our League membership App and Website the previous day.
Tickets for the triple header at the University of Bolton on Saturday July 27 go on sale today, and are available here –https://rugbyleague.tickethour.co.uk/seatingPlan.html?idProduct=560.
Tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 24 are available here – https://www.rugby-league.com/tickets/challenge_cup_final
Salford Red Devils’ former stand-off Kenny Gill is the sixth name in the ‘Willows Wall’ as part of Capricorn Security and Salford Red Devils Foundation’s Heritage Team initiative.
Gill was a part of the memorable 1970’s side – of whom make up the complete Heritage Team thus far – that won two Championship titles with the Red Devils. Overall, Gill appeared 275 times for the Red Devils, scoring 62 tries, kicking nine goals and one drop-goal tallying up to an impressive 205 points. He also played in three Lancashire Cup finals, a John Player final and a Floodlit Trophy final.
During his time with Salford, Gill would represent Great Britain on seven occasions and was involved in the 1974 Down Under and was selected in the 1975 and 1977 World Cups, scoring a try in the 1977 Rugby League World Cup final. Gill also played for Lancashire on seven occasions.
Gill would move to Widnes in February 1978 earning another Championship medal before then moving onto Barrow. However, the stand-off would finish his career with Salford after re-joining for £12,000. He would make his final appearance against Leeds at The Willows on April 27th, 1980.
Voting for scrum half will go live later today. The full results are as follows:
Salford Red Devils trio Jackson Hastings, Rob Lui and Josh Jones were in attendance at Folly Lane’s U10’s presentation evening this past weekend.
The lads signed autographs, handed out trophies and spent the evening with another batch of the next generation of local talent.
Folly Lane said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Jackson, Rob and Josh for taking time out of their spare time to come down and help with our presentation day.
“Our lads were really excited when they turned up and when they gave them their awards.
“A credit to the Club.”
Salford Red Devils forwards Jansin Turgut and Adam Lawton attended Salford Roosters’ U12 and U13 presentation evening this past weekend.
The two Red Devils were quizzed on all things Rugby League and Salford before presenting trophies to the next generation of players.
Patrick and Chris, the Coaching Staff from Salford Roosters, said: “It was fantastic that Jansin and Adam could join us at our under 12 and under 13 presentation evening.
“The players impressed everyone during the question and answer session with the coaches, kids and parents. We heard about Jansin’s time with the England Schoolboys and Turkey’s national Rugby League team as well as how Adam has re-found his love for the sport at Salford and that he comes from Salford stock!
“They impressed us all with their advice to the boys – play Rugby League for enjoyment, work as hard as you can, and you can achieve what you want.
“We’ve got the next generation of players and fans in our teams and it’s great to have strong links with Red Devils. Having Salford players down inspires our players to try and emulate them.
“Now Salford is a community club it’s more important than ever that we all work together and the Roosters and proud to be working with the Red Devils.” And, Jansin and Adam loved it too…
Salford Red Devils can confirm that we will face fellow Betfred Super League side Wigan Warriors in a pre-season friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 20th January, 2pm kick-off.
The Red Devils have opened their Betfred Super League campaign at home against Wigan for two consecutive seasons but will host the Warriors in pre-season this time around.
Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Wigan Warriors to the AJ Bell Stadium in pre-season.
“We wanted to make sure the lads had a real test ahead of the 2019 Betfred Super League season and there’s no bigger test than the current champions.
“I’m sure this will be a strongly contested game and an enjoyable one for the fans. We are hoping that both the Salford and Wigan fans turn out in force as we head into the 2019 season.
“Of course, there’ll be a host of new players on show for both sides which makes the game even more exciting.”
Ticket details will be confirmed in due course. Salford Red Devils will also be confirming a second pre-season friendly in due course.
Ian Watson’s side will begin their 2019 Betfred Super League campaign at Huddersfield Giants on Friday 1st February before hosting newly-promoted London Broncos on Sunday 10th February.
2019 Season Tickets are still available, and you can spread the costs over eight months via our Direct Debit payment plan. For the Direct Debit breakdowns, click HERE. Sign-up by visiting the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office or calling 0161 786 1570.