Fed Shield fixtures announced

England will take on France, Samoa and Tonga in the newly-launched Federation Shield tournament in the European autumn.

The second-tier international competition will take place at the same time as the Tri-Nations Series.

"International rugby league is the pinnacle of the game," said RFL executive chairman Richard Lewis.

"This new tournament will give fans the chance to see many of Europe's best players, together with emerging stars from the Pacific islands."

The tournament gets under way on 22 October with Tonga against Samoa and England versus France at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The final will be played at Widnes' Halton Stadium on 12 November.

England, under new coach Paul Cullen, will also play matches at the Twickenham Stoop - the home of Super League side Harlequins - and Hull's KC Stadium, while there are two matches pencilled in for French venues.

Federation Shield fixtures:

22 October: Tonga v Samoa (1545 BST) and England v France (1745 BST) Headingley, Leeds
28 October: France v Samoa (1900 BST) Colomiers*
29 October: England v Tonga (1500 GMT) Twickenham Stoop, London
5 November: England v Samoa (1500 GMT) KC Stadium, Hull
5 November: France v Tonga (1500 GMT) Castres*
12 November: Federation Shield final (1530 GMT) Halton Stadium, Widnes

* Fixtures in France still subject to confirmation

N.B. Tonga v Samoa match forms part of Pacific Group qualification for 2008 Rugby League World Cup Finals.

Source: bbc.co.uk