England Knights set to tour Papua New Guinea
The re-formed England Knights will tour Papua New Guinea in the autumn.
The Knights, created in 2011 to provide potential internationals with a step up to Test match football, are back in business after a five-year absence and will play two matches against the Kumuls.
The matches in Lae on October 27 and Port Moresby on November 3 will clash with England’s Test series against New Zealand on home soil but the Knights will include a host of players expected to feature in the 2021 and 2025 World Cups.
“The England Knights are the emerging England side and they are going to have a serious tour,” said PNG Rugby Football League chief executive Reatau Rau, who made the announcement in Port Moresby alongside coach Michael Marum.
Papua New Guinea, who last hosted Great Britain in 1996, drew capacity crowds to the national stadium in Port Moresby for their three group games in the 2017 World Cup and expect the Knights tour to generate huge interest in a country where rugby league is the national sport.
“It has been a long time since a team has done a tour in Papua New Guinea,” Rau added.
“Coach Michael Marum says the last time a team made a serious tour was in 2001, when the French played in Goroka and in Port Moresby.
“The Knights are the future of the England side. They are just knocking on the door at the moment for a shot at the World Cup.
“We are proud of the England Rugby Football League for having the interest to come to our country.
“After the success of the World Cup last year and the Hunters and this great stadium and with the international media coverage we have had, it shows the passion of rugby league in this country and we are honoured to have the team visit us.”
Knights coach Paul Anderson, the former Great Britain prop and ex-Huddersfield boss, has named a 25-man squad which includes rising stars Danny Richardson (St Helens), Jake Connor (Hull), Jake Trueman (Castleford) and Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds).
Papua New Guinea, who lost to England in the World Cup quarter-finals last November, will play a Test match against Fiji in the Pacific series in Sydney on June 23 and host the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII on October 6.