Dates for Lions tour and Oceania Cup announced

The itinerary for the this year’s Great Britain tour has been confirmed.

The return of the Lions was confirmed yesterday and the fixtures for the tour have now been announced.

The itinerary includes Test Matches against New Zealand at Eden Park, a first Test in Papua New Guinea in 23 years at the new Oil Search Stadium in Port Moresby and a first ever clash with Tonga.

The match against Tonga will be played on Saturday 26 October 26, two weeks after the Super League Grand Final, at the 25,000-capacity Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, south of Auckland.

The following Saturday (2 Nov), Wayne Bennett’s side will play the first of two Tests against the Kiwis, at Eden Park – part of a triple header which also features matches between Fiji and Samoa, and Australia versus Tonga, both in the new RLIF Oceania Cup.

The tour then heads to New Zealand’s South Island for the second Test against Michael Maguire’s Kiwis on Satuday 9 November in Christchurch, where Great Britain last played on their last trip to the southern hemisphere for the 2006 Tri-Nations Series.

That game is part of a double-header with another Oceania Cup fixture this time between Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The tour will be completed on November 16 when Great Britain face the Kumuls in Port Moresby,

The GB tour will be complemented by the RLIF Oceania Cup and the Downer Rugby League World Cup Nines in Sydney on the weekend of 19 and 20 October, which will feature the England men’s and women’s teams

The Oceania Cup features two pools of three teams – a heavyweight trio of Australia, New Zealand and Tonga in Pool A, with Samoa, Fiji and PNG in Pool B.

The competition begins on June 22 when New Zealand face Tonga in an eagerly-anticipated match at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium, while Campbelltown in Sydney’s Western Suburbs stages the opening match in Pool B between Samoa and PNG – in a double-header also giving the Cook Islands a chance to impress against Fiji.

Australia open their Oceania Cup campaign against the Kiwis in Wollongong on October 25 against the Kiwis – the night before Great Britain face the Tongans in Hamilton.

26 Oct: Great Britain v Tonga (Hamilton)
2 Nov: Great Britain v New Zealand (Auckland)
9 Nov: Great Britain v New Zealand (Christchurch)
16 Nov: Great Britain v Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby)

RLIF Oceania Cup Pool A
22 Jun: New Zealand v Tonga (Auckland)
25 Oct: Australia v New Zealand (Wollongong)
2 Nov: Tonga v Australia (Auckland)

RLIF Oceania Cup Pool B
22 Jun: Samoa v Papua New Guinea (Campbelltown)
2 Nov: Samoa v Fiji (Auckland)
9 Nov: Fiji v Papua New Guinea (Christchurch)

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