If there is ever am example of a way to do things in Rugby League, Its Europe and the European Federation. Ever since its establishment we have seen the number of countries in Europe that play Rugby league explode from just a few to now well over twenty. Yesterday the hard work over the last 10 years that Lebanon and Serbia have put into to the sport has been officially recognised by the Rugby League community, they have been granted full member status (read the full article here).
They now join the other 5 full European members, England, France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland as Europe’s full members. The decision was made at the RLEF annual AGM, shows that the hard work can pay off. The Lebanese and Serbians with very different beginnings have basically taken a similar developmental path in their home nations. The development of these two nations is a great example and testament to other nations who have recently entered the long path.
The exciting thing is that Lebanon and Serbia are non traditional Rugby league or even Union playing nations that have now full status, this is a first for League. Also it shows that even with humble beginnings and not many resources what can be achieved by a country and is a great example for other nations to follow. Of course each nations path will be different, but the end result will be the same.
Both Serbia and Lebanon now are helping to spread the sport to other nations. Lebanon have been very pro active in the Middle East and North Africa and Serbia provide a leading role in Europe, as an example the Central European development Officer is from Serbia (I am actively in touch with them with Polish Rugby League).
At the AGM a record number of nations attended it, with 21 countries represented and say a variety of speakers from different European Institutions give key note speeches. So congratulations to both the Lebanese and Serbians.
The Norwegian rugby league team arrived in Malta this morning ahead of their European Shield decider against Malta this Friday at Melita FC, Pembroke.
Almost at the same time as they filtered through the arrivals lounge, a contingent of three overseas based Maltese players arrived for the task of together with the MRL Championship players, taking down the Scandinavians for the second successive season.
Malta’s injury concerns and player availability has been well documented but the Maltese are all out to win by the required 45 points to claim Europe’s third division of rugby league, a title that can be won by either of Friday’s combatants as well as Germany who will captivatingly be awaiting the score line to filter through – shall Malta win by anything less than the required points differential.
Coach Warren Heilig is expected to take the field himself for the Norwegians alongside his powerful forwards duo of Isaac Schmidt and Erik Sonny Mellor. A draw or better for the Scandinavians will be enough for a debut European Shield tournament victory.
Malta will hold their final training on Thursday evening at Swatar.
2011 EUROPEAN SHIELD – GAME THREE
Friday 2 September 2011
Malta v Norway at Melita FC Stadium, Pembroke
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