- Team Name: The Lions (unofficial)
- First Appearance: 1954
- RLWC2013 Group: Group A
- RLWC2013 Opponents: Australia, Fiji, Ireland
- Last Win: 1972 (as Great Britain)
Ones to Watch: Sam Tomkins, Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall.
Read more about these great players and why they are ones to watch during RLWC2013.
England’s hopes of lifting a first Rugby League World Cup since 1972 will undoubtedly rest on the form of this young man.
A full-back with the power to turn a game on its head single-handedly, Tomkins’ skinny frame allows him to shimmy in and out of would-be defenders with consummate ease, and in full flight he is a joy to watch.
Still an Academy prospect when the last Rugby League World Cup was played, in the five years that have passed since Tomkins has exploded on the scene in the Super League and is acknowledged by most observers as the brightest English talent in years.
A veteran of the international game, Kevin Sinfield will approach Rugby League World Cup 2013 in the knowledge that it’ll provide his final opportunity to experience success at a major tournament with England.
One of only a handful of potential RLWC2013 stars to have featured at the 2000 and 2008 tournaments, Sinfield headed into 2013 as England captain and the current holder of the Golden Boot.
The Leeds talisman’s talents are less tangible than those of his peers. He does not possess a blistering turn of pace, nor is he likely to steamroll his opposite number, but his ability to lead a team and bring the best out of those around his is perhaps an even more valuable talent.
Leeds Rhinos flyer Hall is rated by his fans at Headingley as the World’s Best Winger, and fortunately the six-time Super League Grand Final winner has the talent to justify the label.
A prolific try scorer for club and country, Hall’s pace off the mark, upper body strength and ability under the high ball has seen him play a pivotal role at the very highest level for close to ten years.
He enjoyed a superb Four Nations in 2011, stealing the limelight at Wembley with two incredible tries, though despite his medal haul with Leeds, Hall remains in search of success on the international stage.
RLWC2013 could be the opportunity for the England winger needs to right that wrong.
A Bit of History
An England or Great Britain team has appeared in all 13 World Cup finals, Great Britain winning the trophy on three occasions – including the inaugural tournament in France in 1954.
The England-only side has contested the last four tournaments (and the 1975 one) and, under Steve MacNamara, is aiming to reach the final for the first time on home soil.
England enjoys a unique position within Rugby League history, having given birth to the sport in 1895 when disillusioned clubs from the north of England rebelled against their mainly southern counterparts over the issue of payments to players.
The breakaway league, the Northern Union, was the predecessor to the modern day Rugby Football League.
The first ever Rugby League international was played nine years later, in 1904, when representatives of the Northern Union (effectively an England side) were defeated 9-3 by a team of players of other nationalities.
Rugby League began to spread its wings in the early 20th Century. In 1907, Great Britain played host to New Zealand’s famous ‘All Golds’ touring side and, a year later, Australia toured for the first time.
In 1910, England then embarked on their first ever Rugby League tour, playing numerous games in both New Zealand and Australia.
Since then, the country has produced some of the greatest Rugby League players of all time, with the likes of Billy Batten, Alex Murphy, Harold Wagstaff, Neil Fox and Vince Karalius immortalised in the RFL’s Hall of Fame.
If England can emerge victorious in 2013, there could be one or two new additions.