Kangeroos 'will tour again'

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The Independent Online

The game's International Federation will today decide to give the game back what it has been missing for the last few years with the return of regular tours between Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

The game's International Federation will today decide to give the game back what it has been missing for the last few years with the return of regular tours between Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Geoff Carr, the Australian delegate to the meeting in London leading up to the start of the World Cup, said yesterday that he would be pressing for tours to be reinstated.

"The National Rugby League in Australia has the best club competition in any code, but we need to re-establish the game's international traditions if it is to continue to attract the best athletes," he said.

Kangaroo tours to Britain and Lions tours to Australia lapsed when the Super League revolution hit the game in both countries, with Britain switching to summer to make their playing seasons concurrent.

"But now that the competitions run in tandem, it would be possible for Australia to leave immediately after our Grand Final," said Carr, a former Australian tour manager.

"We could then play four or five club games followed by three Tests before going on to France. It would not be as long as the old tours, but it would restore a lot of the game's traditions."

The meeting is likely to adopt a timetable which would see Australia tour Britain next autumn, followed by New Zealand here in 2002. The following year would see Great Britain go to the southern hemisphere, with a World Cup in Europe in 2004.

If the International Federation accepts that new timetable, the game will regain some of the ground it lost during the upheavals of the mid-Nineties.

New Zealand's second-rower, Tony Puletua, is out of their opening game against the Lebanon at Gloucester on Sunday after being told not to fly following treatment for an abscess on his tooth. The Penrith forward will follow the rest of the squad to England and will play against the Cook Islands next week.

The English referee, Stuart Cummings, is arranging to be flown by helicopter to officiate between Australia and Fiji at Gateshead next week after being refused permission to take the afternoon off his job as a teacher.

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