England May Be Forced To Play ‘Home’ Internationals In Australia

England Rugby LeagueBy STEVE MASCORD

ENGLAND may start playing mid-season internationals in the southern hemisphere in response to the increasing number of Test stars joining NRL clubs.

Wigan fullback Sam Tomkins is thought to have agreed to terms with the Warriors, joining a host of other Super League imports and England-eligible players across the League in 2014.

Australia often plays soccer friendlies in Europe because of proximity to players and in 2006 New Zealand fielded a team of Super League-based players against Great Britain in England for the same reason.

“I’ve seen it brought up a couple of times,” England coach Steve McNamara tells League Week. “We’ve just played the Exiles in England without our NRL-based players.

“If the pendulum swings too far the other way and we’ve got the majority out here … we’ll always be open to new ideas and new suggestions.”

McNamara said it was a positive Tomkins was staying in rugby league.

“I’ll wait for confirmation … but Sam is someone who likes challenges,” he said.

“If we get too many players leaving our competition, it dilutes our competition and we want it to go the other way. We need to strengthen it.

“But there’s been no doubt the players who’ve played in the NRL have enhanced their performance and it’s been good for our national team.

“Rugby union in England has been a real threat. Coming to the NRL with the increased salary cap actually keeps them in our sport.

“It’s probably the better of two … evils is probably the wrong word to describe it but … it’s not for everyone but for the ones who’ve made it so far, I can see the benefits.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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