Confirmation Of Kangaroo Tour

BRADFORD'S Odsal Stadium will host this year's Origin match, whilst Wigan, Huddersfield and Hull will stage the autumn's Test Series against Australia.

The 2003 representative season begins with the Origin match between Yorkshire and Lancashire on Wednesday 2nd July at the newly refurbished Odsal Stadium in Bradford (ko 7.45pm). It will be the first time a representative game has been held at Odsal since Yorkshire played New Zealand in 1985.

The original plan of a two-match Origin series has been amended following the creation of the European Nations Cup tournament and the confirmation of further matches for the England 'A' and Wales teams in order to ease the demands on elite players.

Also as part of their preparations for the Ashes series, the Great Britain side will take on New Zealand 'A'. This match will take place at Headingley Stadium on Wednesday 29th October (ko 8.00pm).

The Australian tour begins on Tuesday 28th October when the Kangaroos take on England 'A' at Griffin Park, Brentford (ko 8.00pm).

Australia will then face Wales in a one-off Test on Sunday 2nd November (ko 2.00pm). The venue for this game will be confirmed in due course.

The following weekend, the first match in the three Test series will be staged at the JJB Stadium, Wigan on Saturday 8th November (ko 6.15pm).

The second Test will be played exactly a week later at Hull's recently opened Kingston Communications Stadium (Saturday 15th November 2003, ko 6.15pm) with Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium staging the third and final Test on Saturday 22nd November.

Commenting on this announcement, the Rugby Football League's Executive Chairman Richard Lewis said: "The contest between the Lions and the Kangaroos is recognised throughout the sporting world as a unique and fierce rivalry.

"The Ashes series is the pinnacle of international Rugby League and generates such tremendous passion and atmosphere. The return of a tour which includes matches other than the three Tests will further enhance the experience for supporters and players alike.

"The fixture between England 'A' and the Kangaroos is an excellent opportunity for our emerging talent to test themselves against opposition of such high calibre. We are also delighted to be staging this highly prestigious international fixture at Griffin Park..The success of last season's game at the venue shows that there is a great appetite for representative Rugby League in the capital."

The newly created European Nations Cup tournament will also be played in tandem with the Kangaroo tour and full details of this exciting new competition and the remaining details of the New Zealand 'A' tour will be announced in due course.