The New Zealand Rugby League has won the support of Australia to keep the Anzac Day test alive.

There had been much conjecture over the future of the game because the National Rugby League, which runs the Australian domestic competition and State of Origin, wanted the test played in July after the Origin series.

However, at a meeting in London, NZRL chairman Gerald Ryan and his Australian counterpart, Colin Love, agreed to keep the fixture.

Both will take it back to their boards and, if confirmed at that level, the test will continue on or close to Anzac Day. Next year's test has tentatively been set down for April 27 in Wellington.

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Ryan said that an international touring schedule had been drawn up at the International Rugby League Board meeting, and the international nines series would be reintroduced.

A draft tour schedule for the next five years has Australia and New Zealand touring Britain in successive years, playing three or four major clubs and three tests against Great Britain.

Australia would go next year and New Zealand in 2002. Great Britain would then tour Australia and New Zealand in 2003.

All delegates agreed to reintroduce the nines, but a decision has still to be made on where to hold it.

Hong Kong is favoured by New Zealand, but the Australians want Melbourne and the British have suggested Orlando, Florida.

While 2002 seems to be the likely date to restart the format, Ryan is confident he can get it organised for Hong Kong next year.

- NZPA