THE Great Britain rugby league team will return to action after a 12-year absence from the international stage with a Southern Hemisphere tour later this year.

The four constituent nations have played separately as England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales since the Lions last played in 2007, but will now come together once more for this winter's tour.

England coach Wayne Bennett will take charge of the team, who will play two Tests against New Zealand, plus one-off Tests against Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

"It’s an honour to be involved in the revival of the Great Britain team as head coach,” said Bennett.

"I’ve coached against them in the past with Australia, and wherever you’re from in the world of Rugby League, that Great Britain jersey is a famous one – and I’m sure the current generation of players will be excited by the prospect of wearing it and representing their country in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea."

Fixture dates and venues for the tour were due to be announced in Auckland this morning

A total of 19 Barrow players have represented Great Britain while with the club, the most recent being David Cairns who won two caps against France in 1984.

However, the Raiders' current Papua New Guinean trio of Willie Minoga, Wartovo Puara Jr and Stargroth Amean could be facing the Lions for their homeland in Port Moresby later this year.