This week there has been lots of. I know there has been a hiatus of several of days from, but Its proposal writing season and so have been busy with my physics stuff. However I now have a bit of time to catch up on the weeks news. Also this weekend I will be travelling to Toronto for the Canada v South Africa International. The last time I saw the South Africans play was in 2008 in England when they toured on a 3 game tour of the north. It will be interesting to see how they fair this time around. Most people are writing them off but there seems to be some local home support that they can win through the World Cup Qualifiers. Though the Rhinos have no NRL or ESL stars to call upon, they do have a large domestic competition to draw players from and in the last few years have had BARLA, GB Defence Forces and Australian University teams go over to play them, so they do have some experience. Interesting times ahead. But now lets see what’s been happening. Also I have had a few people email me about the whole international eligibility that been happening. I will comment on this soon.
The NRL Grand Finals was an absolute thriller. So Its no secret that I am not the biggest of fans of the Sea Eagles, but a congratulations has to go out to them on their win. Despite going out to a 18-2 lead the Warriors were able to rally and make a great show of it. They hit back with two great tries and looked like they will storm back, but Manly rallied and sealed the deal right on the end of the match 24-10.
However we have had bad news from down under. As many of you know the New Zealand RL have cancelled their Test Match against the Cook Islands citing that they could not field a test team. Funny how the week after they would have played that game they can field a test team against Australia. You know am just saying. I am very disappointed in the NZRL and the RLIF (now run by the NZRL) that this has happened. New Zealand now has so many NRL, ESL and LER grade players that they certainly can field two test grade teams.
Other bad news from the Pacific is that 9 days out from their tour of the UK and Ireland the Samoans have cancelled their 3 game tour. They were meant to play Cumbria, England Knights and Ireland. The Ireland game was meant to be a warm up for their European Tri-Nations against Scotland and France. Samoa cite that the Samoan Government pulled their funding for the tour and can’t afford it now. England Knights will play Cumbria now and France next week. Not sure what Ireland will do.
The Engage Super League Grand Final is finally upon us. I have been twice to see this and I have to say its one of the most fun days of Rugby League I have ever had. We now see that St Helens and Leeds have made the final once again. This is the fourth time that these two have played in 5 years and has seen Leeds win it the previous three times. St Helens, like the other times come in as favourites, this seems to always spook them, but their favouritism this time I think is justified. Leeds were pushed all the way with Warrington and St’s quite clinical against Wigan. Overall Leeds’ season has not been that great and I think that they will struggle against St’s.
The French season has started up again. Two rounds have been played already with the first round saw FC.Lézignan 46 beat Lescure 12, Avignon 32 defeat Carcassonne 18, Pia 28 win over St Estève XIII Catalan 14 and Montpellier 18 lost to Villeneuve 30, St Gaudens, Linoux and Lescure didnt play. In round 2 Carcassonne 20 defeated Limoux 6, Avignon 38 beat Pia 18, St Esteve XIII Catalan 38 over Villeneuve 20 and Lezignan 82 slaughtered Montpellier 0. Lescure, St Gaudens and Toulouse didn’t play.
A new page in Serbian rugby league history was written on Sunday 2nd in Vranje, the southern-most city near the border with Macedonia, with the launch of an Under-18s championship.
Dorcol Spiders travelled the 350 km from Belgrade to face Rugby League Club Soko based in the host city.
Despite their arduous five-hour trip, the Dorcol juniors won the game 14-4.
Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF Central European Regional Director noted, ‘’This is one of the most important projects for the Serbian Rugby League Federation for this year. The competition will have five clubs all around the country including Radnicki from Nova Pazova, Dorcol and Red Star from Belgrade, Morava from Leskovac and Soko from Vranje. The ultimate goal is the formation of Serbian Rugby League Academy that will produce the best coaches and young players.“
Pennine Premier League club Sharlston Rovers have welcomed Czech players, David Lahr and Jan Buben, to their playing roster.
The BARLA National Cup holders have followed last season’s pioneering hosting of two Russians by inviting the Czechs to spend a season at the Yorkshire club to help bolster their games and to more broadly assist in the continued growth of rugby league in the central European nation.
Forward Lahr, 22, founded the Czech club Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels after being introduced to the sport while studying at the University of Pardubice. The versatile Buben, 19, was a key member of the Beroun Black Panthers 2010 Czech Championship winning team.
Both were members of the Czech Republic national team’s Euro Bowl 2011 success against Hungary in July.
Sharlston, in conjunction with Unison, have helped both players to find work to fund their stay in England.
Lahr’s excitement was evident on his departure to England. “To spend a season living in England and playing rugby league with a well run and successful club like Sharlston was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse,” he said. “I only started playing league three years ago so I have a lot to learn and Northern England is the best place for that!”
Buben is equally keen to make the most of this opportunity. “I’ve played league since it started in the Czech Republic five years ago and I love the game and want to improve. I am confident of doing well in the Pennine League,” he commented.
Iain Sellers, a founder of the Czech Rugby League Association (CZRLA) in 2006, added, “We (CZRLA) cannot thank Sharlston enough for giving these two youngsters the life changing experience of living and working in a different country. Sharlston epitomise the community based club spirit that we are trying to grow in the Czech Republic through rugby league. It is obvious that spending a season playing in Yorkshire will improve the lads’ technical and physical skills on the pitch but we hope that it will also give them an appreciation of the organisational, administrative and social skills needed to run a successful organisation. Sharlston’s vision in hosting players from developing nations can only be a positive for the growth of the game in developing nations. We hope others will follow their lead.”
Ironically, in the first game after resumption of the Czech Republic’s 2011 domestic season, the two players‘ former clubs met and in a high-scoring, upset result, Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels hosting and defeating the reigning champions and previously unbeaten Beroun, 48-40, throwing open the championship race.
Crunch time is fast approaching for the three nations about to contest the Rugby League World Cup Atlantic Zone Qualifiers with all teams making final adjustments to their preparations.
The USA, Jamaica and South Africa will vie for the right to take their place at the 2013 RLWC in England and Wales and like hosts USA, Jamaica is banking on a mix of domestic and overseas based players to get the job done.
The Jamaica Rugby League Association has named the strongest possible squad that it can for the crucial qualifying series to be held in Philadelphia October 15-23.
The rugby reggae boys are due to open their campaign against the South Africa Rhinos, a team that is largely unknown going into the series. Monteith says while the Jamaican coaching staff has tried to scout the opposition in preparation for the game, it has proved to be somewhat difficult given that not much is known about them.
“I have met their coach Steven van Zyl and he is a great guy,” says Jamaica’s assistant coach Romeo Monteith. “SARL do not put out much video on YouTube etc., so we really do not know what standard they are at, however, I do expect they will be a very good team with a good chance of winning as well.
“I think they will move the ball around comfortably because of their rugby union background. I’m expecting them to be really physical as well in the middle of the park.”
Regardless of the outcome of that match, Jamaica will be looking to turn the tables on the USA Tomahawks in the final game of the series. The US has had the wood on the Jamaicans beating them both times they have played since they began their rivalry in 2009.
In a match that could very well determine who gets the Atlantic Zone seed in Pool D alongside Wales and Cook Islands in 2013, Monteith thinks his charges will need to lift their game in several areas against the Tomahawks for the full 80 minutes.
“We just need to be more disciplined when the going gets tough,” comments Monteith. “I think our players need to concentrate harder in the last 20 minutes of the game to give us a fair shot at winning.
“In addition I would like to see us move the ball around the park a little better as it’s difficult for us to out muscle the USA in the middle of the field.”
Despite what appears to be a big ask for the Jamaicans to advance to the Rugby League World Cup, Monteith says he and his team are confident of putting in a good showing.
“We have as good a chance as any of the three. All teams are on par,” he ventures. “I think the USA are clear favourites as hosts and as the highest ranked country of the three.
“They have defeated us twice before so we see them as the biggest threat, but first we have to get past South Africa and we know that will be a mammoth task.”
RLWCQ Schedule – Philadelphia:
GAME 1 – USA v South Africa (October 15, 2011)
GAME 2 – South Africa v Jamaica (October 19, 2011)
GAME 3 – USA v Jamaica (October 23, 2011)
The USA is gearing up for the world Cup. After a mixed bag of results following their warm ups against Canada in the Colonial Cup, they are looking to win through against a strong Canadian team and a South African team that is unknown. The games are being played in a baseball stadium, Campbell’s field in New Jersey, well its across the river from Philadelphia. There has been much critisism from many fans, but lets not say anything till the games are done. At the moment it looks like everything is going great.
Also check out the blog from the USARL development of youth in schools, it seems that a lot is happening now. Lawrence Almagno who is now the official youth development officer for the USARL is keeping a blog of his work. You can read it here http://usarl-yd.blogspot.com/ .
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