Some more great news from Europe this week with new affiliate members being accepted, The War of the Roses in swing with Cumbria winning the opening round and Lebanon and Italy battling it out for the last world Cup qualifiers. Russia and Serbia though won’t be going home empty, they will be fighting it out for the Slavic Cup.
The Czech Republic, Germany and Norway have all been admitted as Affiliate Members of the RLEF, following a meeting of the board of directors in Avignon. Denmark was also granted Observer status.
Chairman Richard Lewis commented, “This confirmation represents a mark of the sport’s deepening spread in Continental Europe. National governing bodies have responded well to the Federation’s focus on good governance and I’m pleased to say that there is a sincere commitment from our member organizations to strengthen off the field as well as on.”
The Czech Rugby League Association was formed in 2005 but last year overhauled its structure almost entirely, adopting a new constitution and voting in a new eight-man board. This year has seen the Czech national competition played over more rounds than ever before, with the strategy of basing growth around community clubs showing signs of success. For the first time the CZRLA has taken the sport into schools, with four junior clubs formed and plans for a junior competition in 2012.
“This is an important milestone for Czech rugby league,” said CZRLA president John Anderson. “To have achieved this status in six years, after such humble beginnings, is a fitting testament to all the hard work and commitment from all those involved with the CZRLA, both past and present. It’s also a significant marker for the future of our game here, and will give us the impetus to consolidate and see the game expand throughout the country.”
Rugby League Deutschland has been an Observer of the RLEF since 2007, with 2011 seeing considerable changes on the structural and administrative front. Since a new Board was elected at RLD’s AGM in February, the governing body has achieved eingetragener verein or e.v. status, meaning it is now registered under German law. This has been done simultaneously with an application for full federation or verband status, which is nearing its conclusion. RLD’s focus for 2012 is embedding the Bundesliga, lengthening the competition rounds.
“To become an Affiliate Member of the RLEF is a big achievement for our country and especially for our organization,” said RLD president Maximilian Schoengen, “and takes rugby league in Germany and its development one step further. We are looking into a future full of opportunities and taking the right steps in order to make use of these opportunities. Being accepted as a Member proves the strategy RLD is following is the right one.”
The youngest of the new Members, Rugby League Norge, has witnessed remarkable growth in its barely two-year existence. Having played a five-team YIT Premiership club competition this year, RLN now has no less than 12 clubs in its sphere and is planning to restructure the competition into divisions to accommodate expansion. This year rugby league was shown in Norway on satellite and terrestrial television, with RLN hosting its own show. RLN president Warren Heilig is confident of a significant boost in membership numbers in 2012.
“Obtaining Affiliate Membership is an evolution,” he said. “It’s the next step for us in trying to get better as a nation and an organisation. Our plans to increase participation numbers in 2012 are well on track.”
The Dansk Rugby League Forbund held its first formal AGM in October, electing Rune T. Nordvang as president. Nordvang noted the massive potential for growth in the northern European country and is confident of overseeing expansion at a rapid rate.
Game 2 in the BARLA County Tri Series takes place this Sunday 30th October when defending champions Yorkshire entertain Lancashire in a ‘War of the Roses’ clash at Heworth ARLFC kick off 3.00pm.
After their 34-22 defeat last Sunday at Cumbria, Yorkshire must win and by at least eight points to give themselves any chance of retaining their title.
Lancashire begin their campaign in this clash knowing that victory would give them a winner takes all in the deciding Game 3 clash against Cumbria next month.
Yorkshire Head Coach Tony Spence,
“We came back from eighteen nil down to get within four points of Cumbria before a penalty and converted try saw us lose. We want to win the game first and foremost and not worry about by how many.”
Lancashire Head Coach John Fieldhouse,
“The squad have trained hard in their build up to this game and we go their confident that we can do the job. Although Yorkshire lost their opening game we are going to show them the respect they deserve and we will have to be at our best to come out winners.”
Prior to this game which is part of a double header, Yorkshire Under 19’s entertain Lancashire Under19’s at 1.00pm smarting from their 56-16 defeat at Cumbria which puts them out of contention of winning their first ever title at this age group, although it will be Lancashire’s first game of the campaign.
Admission is £3 Adults, £1 Concessions
Serbia and Russia are the first sides in to battle in this Saturday’s Belgrade double-header, which will mark the culmination of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup European Zone Qualifiers.
Although they are out of the running for qualification, having lost to Lebanon and Italy, they have their own score to settle with the Milan Kosanovic Cup up for grabs after they both defeated Ukraine –and world rankings positions also being at stake.
Serbia’s preparations ended with two-day camp at the five-star Football Association of Serbia Sports Center in Stara Pazova outside Belgrade.
Captain Dalibor Vukanović is back in team after missing the Italy game due to hamstring injury, Milan Šušnjara is again in 20-man squad and Stevan Stevanović appears for the first time in the qualifiers; Slaviša Zekić and Vladan Kikanović dropping out.
There is added spice in that three Serbian players, Dalibor Vukanović, Soni Radovanović and Zoran Pešić, spent several months in 2006 and 2007 at RC Vereya, the club with the most representatives in Russian side and their current champions. Dynamic hooker Pešić – a scorer against Italy – is expected to raise his record of 24 consecutive appearances in the national team line up. There are no uncapped players in the host’s 20-man squad.
Serbia have lost both their previous encounters against Russia; in a 2006 RLWC qualifier, 6-44 in Belgrade and in the 2008 Euro-Med Challenge 4-30 in Novi Sad. The two nations have never played in Russia
Serbia Technical Advisor Lee Crooks commented, “ I think that both teams will have earmarked this weekend’s game as a winnable one. We have developed as a team over the last two weeks and we go into the match with a lot of confidence.”
“The score line against Lebanon did not paint a true picture but we overcame that disappointment and produced a very good performance against the Italians. We worked extremely hard defensively and challenged them on offence on occasions but need to execute better and come up with better attacking decisions. We are all really looking forward to the challenge and if we play to our potential I am sure we can get a positive result,” he added.
Adam Nedić (Belconnen United Scholars RLFC), Danilo Delić, Dejan Lukenić, Stefan Nedeljković, Stevan Stevanović, Ivan Šušnjara, Milan Šušnjara, Vuk Tvrdišić, Nikša Unković, Dalibor Vukanović (capt.) (Dorćol), Ilija Radan (Hemel Hempstead RLFC), Soni Radovanović (vicecapt.) (Lescure-Arthes XIII), Lazar Živković (Niš), Radovan Tajsić (Radnički Nova Pazova), Miloš Ćalić, Zoran Pešić, Nebojša Živanović (Red Star Belgrade), Austen Novaković (Siddal ARLFC), Aleksandar Aleksić, Mirko Božović (Stari Grad)
Rustam Bulanov (Rc Vereya), Petr Botnarash (Rc Vereya), Mikhail Burlutskiy (Rc Vereya), Igor Chuprin (Storm), Grigory Esin (Nevskaya Zastava), Vadim Fedchuk (Storm), Ilgiz Galimov (Rc Vereya), Sergey Gaponov (Rc Vereya), Artem Grigoryan (Rbk), Anatolij Grigorev (Rc Vereya), Sergey Konstantinov (Rc Vereya), Aleksandr Lysokon (Rc Vereya), Alexey Nikolaev (Rc Vereya), Eduard Ososkov (Rc Vereya), Maksim Suchkov (Rc Vereya), Vladimir Vlasyuk (Rc Vereya), Alexey Volkov (Storm)
Having both beaten Russia and Serbia in the European Zone Qualifiers, Italy and Lebanon are set to do battle in Belgrade on Saturday for the right to take the 14th place in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The winners will join Scotland and Tonga in Group C of the main draw and both nations are expected to show few changes and are trying to play down the importance of the contest.
Italy, who start as favourites, have spent the last fortnight in the Serbian capital and coach Carlo Napolitano commented, “It has been a good week of preparation in the Serbian football academy. We had a few players who were carrying knocks but their injuries have ironed themselves out. The group is in really good spirits and everybody is looking forward to Saturday.”
His opposite number, Cedars’ supremo David Baysarri noted, “Since coming to Serbia from Moscow, the team has responded really well in training. The last two weeks have been a build up to this weekend’s game against Italy.”
He was backed up by Lebanon vice captain, hooker Jamie Clark who added, “After settling into camp in Serbia this week the boys have refocused to the task ahead of qualifying for the 2013 World Cup, the team has put themselves in the best possible position to deliver.”
Alex Ranieri (North Sydney Bears) , Anthony Minichiello (c) (Sydney Roosters), Ben Falcone (Wentworth), Ben Stewart (Windsor Wolves), Cameron Ciraldo (Newcastle Knights), Christophe Calegari (Lezignan), Dean Vicelich (XIII del Ducato), Dom Nasso (Monto), Fabrizzio Ciaurro (XIII del Ducato), Joel Riethmuller (North Queensland Cowboys), Jonathon Marcinzack (West Bowling), Josh Mantellano (Wyong), Matt Parrata (Mt Isa), Matthew Sands(Grifons PD), Ray Nasso (Wentworth), Rhys Lennarduzzi (Wests), Rob Quitadamo (XIII del Ducato), Ryan Ghetti (Northern Pride), Ryan Tramonte (St Patricks Blacktown), Vic Mauro (Manly Sea Eagles)
Allen Soultan, (Balamand); Nick Kassis (Cabramatta); Steve Azzi (Canterbury Bulldogs); Ibrahim Ballout, Robin Hachache, Walid Yassine (LAU Immortals RLFC); Ray Moujalli (Manly Sea Eagles); Adham El Zabedieh, Adnan El Zabedieh (Mounties); Charlie Farah (Narrabeen); Jamie Clark, Khaled Deeb, Ahmed Ellaz (Newtown Jets); Danny Barakat, Nadim Couri, Chris Saab, Adnan Saleh (St John’s Eagles); James Boustani, Clifton Nye (Wentworthville), Nemer Saliba (Wolves).
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