INTERNATIONAL rugby league will return to Elland Road for the first time in seven years when England face New Zealand there in 2018.
The RFL has confirmed the venues for next year’s three-match series against the Kiwis with Leeds United’s home hosting the third and final Test on Sunday, November 11 (3pm).
The last time England played there was the 2011 Four Nations final loss against Australia and, with Leeds Rhinos having already announced Super League fixtures with Hull KR and Castleford Tigers, it becomes the third rugby league game taking place at the ground next year.
Yorkshire hosts two of the Tests as the opening game of the series will take place at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Saturday, October 27 (2.30pm).
Following the success of the 2016 Four Nations Final, when more than 40,000 spectators witnessed Australia beat New Zealand, international rugby league also returns to Anfield in Liverpool for the second Test on Saturday, November 3 (2.30pm).
The Kiwis last visited England for a Test series in 2015 when the hosts emerged victorious and lifted the Baskerville Shield in front of a sell-out crowd in Wigan.
The KCOM Stadium, Anfield and Elland Road are all venues that I am sure will inspire the players and I am certain that England fans will help create incredible atmospheresRFL chief executive, Nigel Wood
The visitors will be determined to put a disappointing World Cup campaign behind them and rediscover the form that saw them ranked the number one team in the world in 2015 and for much of 2016.
England, meanwhile, hope to reach their first World Cup final in 22 years when they face Tonga in Saturday’s semi-final in Auckland.
Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood said: “With the eyes of the nation firmly fixed on England’s progress in the World Cup we are delighted to announce that international Rugby League is returning to home soil in 2018.
“Fans will be able to see some the biggest names in the game compete at three fantastic stadiums. The KCOM Stadium, Anfield and Elland Road are all venues that I am sure will inspire the players and I am certain that England fans will help create incredible atmospheres at each of these grounds next year.”
England head coach Wayne Bennett - the Australian who assisted the Kiwis when they won the 2008 World Cup - added: “International Rugby League is the pinnacle in any player’s career and it’s good to see a traditional Test series confirmed in the calendar for next year.
“Games between England and New Zealand always deliver plenty of entertainment and drama and I expect next year’s series will be no different.
“Hull, Leeds and Liverpool will all do a great job in hosting the games and supporters. I know Anfield is new to the mix for England, but seeing so many people attend the Four Nations final last year is promising for the game and I hope the fans will turn out in great number once again.”
Tickets for all three games are on sale now at rugby-league.com and cost from £25 for adults and £12.50 for concessions.