England, one of the top three sides in the world rankings, have been playing teams across the globe since 1904. Competing each year against the sport's elite nations, England regularly participate in tournaments, most recently the 2017 World Cup which saw them reach the final against Australia - an event that was broadcast to millions of homes worldwide.
The man behind the team and last year's World Cup drive is Head Coach, Wayne Bennett. Recently signed to a new two-year deal with the national side, Bennett is the most successful Rugby League coach in the history of the game. Winning a record seven NRL Grand Finals and a World Cup as assistant coach of New Zealand, he's one of the most respected, influential and innovative coaches in world sport.
Across the field, England are blessed with superstars in many positions that are guaranteed to entertain fans until the final whistle. Players to watch are, team captain Sean O'Loughlin, Sam Burgess, James Graham, Luke Gale, Gareth Widdop and winger Jermaine McGillvary, who scored seven tries in six games during last year's World Cup and was included in the World Team of the Year.
Since the team's inception in 1907, the Kiwis (named after a New Zealand native bird) have represented New Zealand on the world stage playing Rugby League.
Before each game, the players perform a māori cultural challenge known as a haka. Traditionally war haka were performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition.
New Zealand have competed in every Rugby League World Cup since the first in 1954 reaching three consecutive finals between 2000 and 2013. In 2008, Nathan Cayless captained the Kiwis to their biggest success, a 34-20 victory against Australia to crown New Zealand as the World Cup champions for the first time in their history. The Kiwis also won the 2010 & 2014 Four Nations tournaments.
During the 1900s-2000s, the Kiwis played 109 Tests against Great Britain resulting in 39 wins, five draws and 65 losses. In 2006, the Great Britain team dispersed with players instead representing England, Wales and Scotland at Test level. In the following years, the Kiwis' favourable record against England saw them win nine, draw one and lose six of the 16 Tests. Both teams are competitively matched with the latest score between the teams being a Kiwi victory 17-16 in 2016.
The Kiwis are currently ranked number 2 in the world.
The team is now in a rebuild phase looking ahead to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and Denver represents the first step in that process.