England arrange summer double header against the Exiles to provide extra competition

Repeat: England played the Exiles last summer

Repeat: England played the Exiles last summer

England will play two fixtures against the Exiles in 2012, it has been announced.

The Rugby Football League have decided to build on last year's inaugural mid-season fixture between the national team and an overseas XIII drawn from the leading Antipodean players based in Super League.

An encouraging Friday night crowd of 14,174 at Headingley watched the Exiles, captained by Leeds' Australian hooker Danny Buderus, snatch a 16-12 victory over Steve McNamara's England.

It was introduced with the intention of providing the national team with a more intensely-competitive match than the usual one-sided mid-season international against France and was generally considered to be a success.

This year there will be a stand-alone fixture on Saturday, June 16, with players not required to back up immediately for their Super League clubs, followed by a second game on Wednesday, July 4, with the venues yet to be decided.

The RFL will have to appoint a new captain, as well as a new coaching team for the Exiles, with last year's successful duo of Brian McClennan and Terry Matterson now both coaching in the NRL, which kicked off at the weekend.

The RFL will confirm the fixtures, along with the end-of-season international programme, at a news conference at St Helens tomorrow.
McNamara has been promised a four nations tournament but it will not feature either Australia or New Zealand, who are sticking to a pledge to their leading players to give them a full off season to prepare for the 2013 World Cup in Europe.

Instead, England are likely to play Wales and France, along with possibly a Pacific Island nation, on home soil in October and November.

Meanwhile, McNamara will announce his new 32-man elite training squad, from which his England team will almost certainly be chosen, as well as a 24-strong England Knights squad at Tuesday's conference at Langtree Park.

The Knights played France and Cumbria in their inaugural season in 2011 and have been promised more fixtures this year.