A test series between England and Australia, those famous old cricketing rivals is about to begin, the Ashes are at stake and we're all very excited.
Unfortunately, here is no prospect of that other famous Anglo-Australian test series taking place in the near future. The RL Ashes seem to have largely been forgotten
I would like to see a twelve match Kangaroos tour to the UK in June/July including matches against the top six SL sides and a three test Ashes series against GB. It could be reciprocated two years later in the Southern Hemisphere and the cycle repeated every four years. It could complement European and Pacific Cups as well as four nation cometions but would meed detailed plans made in advance by the RLIF which has never happened before. It would also mean players would have to be released by their SL/NRL clubs during the domestic season as happens in cricket, RU etc. Maybe central contracts would help this.
It won’t happen.
Other sports e.g. RU and cricket give a priority to international competition and expand. We prioritise domestic competitions and stagnate.
To be fair, the RL officials in Europe are trying to develop regular international competitions to allow new nations to develope and allow players the opporunity to play for their country of choice. Let's hope this continues and more progress is made. A similar programme should be undertaken in the Asia/Pacific regions but the RLIF need to urgently sort out eligibility criteria and prevent players swapping countries like they swap clubs e.g. Hayne playing for Fiji then Australia.
Although regular tournmaments would be great but most would make a financial loss in the short term. This includes the European and Pacific Cups although the concepts could be developed if we persevered
Kangaroo and Lions tours are part of our heritage, they have made big profits in the past and could do again.
Remember the British Lions nickname was given to the GB RL team first and RU copied it. They have also copied the successful Lions tour format by including midweek games in country areas.
We need to jump back on our own bandwagon quickly before it is hyjacked completely.
The struggle for the Ashes: The history of Anglo-Australian Rugby League test matches