Today, some great news from around the world with the re-emergence of the Dutch in Europe as a recognised playing nations and the South Africans have also entered the RLEF. Also Resultys from Jamaica and Saudi Arabia have landed in Lebanon for an U18s international.
The South African Rugby League and Nederlandse Rugby League Bond have both been recognised by the Rugby League European Federation, following a Board Meeting in Leeds.
South African Rugby League, already a Full Member of the Rugby League International Federation, was accepted at the same level by the RLEF.
Nederlandse Rugby League Bond is now recognised as Holland’s national governing body, gaining Observer status and ending a six-year vacuum.
“At SARL we feel that there is more logic associating with our northern hemisphere partners,” said Kobus Botha, president of the SARL Board, which is now made up of the chairmen of seven active provinces. “Membership to the RLEF allows us to start playing against progressively stronger nations as we develop the sport in South Africa.”
Rugby league in Holland has had a chequered history. The original governing body, the NNRLB, was formed in 2003. It hosted the first qualifying match of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, playing Russia in April 2006, and previously kicked off the European Cup – a nine-team tournament – when facing Georgia at home in April 2005.
But such international exposure did not translate into a durable domestic programme something the NRLB, formed in 2009, is seeking to rectify. Already a registered association in Holland and having successfully secured Leonardo da Vinci programme funding for its coach and match official development, the NRLB’s steady approach has given Dutch rugby league a stable platform from which to grow.
“The NRLB is very excited to be given the chance to re-join the RLEF,” said chairman Jason Bruygoms. “It has given us a real incentive and momentum. We believe we are heading in the right direction, focusing on grass roots rugby league which is fundamental in creating sustainability and a rugby league culture, which are two of our main focuses.”
RLEF Chairman Richard Lewis was keen to acknowledge the contribution of both nations, although at different ends of the RLEF member spectrum. “South Africa represents a traditionally powerful rugby country and the energy the newly elected SARL Board has demonstrated should result in enduring growth for rugby league,” he noted. “Africa represents a strategic territory for our sport, more so now than ever before following our recognition by the Commonwealth Games Federation, and I look forward to working with SARL at both national and continental levels.”
“At the Observer level, it’s encouraging to see the methodical approach the NRLB has made in mapping its formal return to the European rugby league family. A signatory to the RLEF Technical Strategy and with a clear aim to develop the sport among locals, theirs is an admirable and sensible model,” he added.
Mico 48 def. PCC 18
(Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2012)
Gc Foster College Grounds Bowl, 4pm
A powerful 5 try haul from giant centre Astil Johnson led Mico University College to a comfortable 48-18 victory over Portmore Community College on Tuesday afternoon. Johnson, standing at 6’4 was like a man possessed as he smashed his way to 3 tries in the first half and then added two more in the second. He was well supported by Romaen Campbell (3) and Oshane Eddie (1), both of whom scored their tries in the second half. Eddie kicked 5 conversions, while Kennard Woolery kicked one.
For Portmore, Lamar Uffar, Kieve Parkinson and speedster Phillipn Murary all scored tries, while hooker Leon Thomas kicked 3 conversions. The game was interestingly poised at 20-12 for Mico at halftime after Johnson bullied his way to three top class tries in the first 20 minutes of the game. Portmore hit back strongly with tries from Murray and Parkinson, with Thomas making the conversions. They should have closed the gap further as they had Mico on the ropes for the final 15 minutes of the first half; however, poor ball handling skills saw much of their good works undone.
Mico returned in the second half a more composed outfit and led by the experienced Campbell and Eddie systematically broke down the resolve of a feisty Portmore team. Campbell, playing at hooker, had his way up the middle of the park and notched his hat trick from clever dummy half plays close to the line. Meanwhile, Eddie with his trade mark elusive foot work regularly broke down Portmore’s defense out wide and feed Johnson at centre, who bullied his way to 2 additional tries before full time
The competition continues on Thursday at the Mona Bowl, when the University of the West Indies will welcome the University of Technology at 4pm.
The first Under-18s rugby league international in the Middle East and North Africa region will take place on Friday when Lebanon host the Saudi Select in Beirut.
Lebanon coach, Robin Hacahache, is eagerly anticipating the clash. “The boys are anxiously looking forward to Friday’s game, we will be fielding an experienced and skilful Under-18s side,” he said. “Most of the players have come through from the last years Under-16s squad.”
The same progression is true of the visiting KSA squad with skipper Hasan Zakzouk noting, “We have been working hard in preparation and feel this is strongest team [at any age group] we have taken to Beirut.”
The Camels coaching staff of David Kinkead, Wayne Stewart and Chris Stander are also confident of success. “In the team’s two warm-up matches we have seen them go from strength to strength and in the last match play some fast, free-flowing rugby league,” Head Coach Kinkead added.
The Saudi travelling contingent contains five uncapped players in a squad selected from over 50 who attended trials in Jeddah. The most experienced, Farid Abdulwahab, spent two weeks in the summer training with the Warrington Wolves Academy.
Remond Safi, the MENA Regional Director, is delighted with the progress being made in the region. “We are seeing the organic growth of the sport.’” He commented.
“The Lebanese now have U14s, U16s, U18s, U20s and open age national sides. We have seen the KSA going from U14s and U16s to expanding their growth to U18s and hopefully they will have U20s next year. I anticipate seeing the other MENA Nations involved in the U18s ranks next year.”
Lebanon Under-18s training squad:
Brian Hajjar (Sabis ), Aref Barakeh ( Universal school of Lebanon Koura). Zaher Khatib (ACTEL), Karim Mekasy, Khaled Mekari, Peter Fahed, George Yazbeck, Fadi Ghoulan, Rouh Nasr, George Farah, Thomas Zachariou, (Balamand High), Maxime Chalhoub, Ali Kanj, Sadecc Choucaire ( Broumina High School), George Meneem (Chekka High School), Jad Risk (College Melkart), Mohammad Dahbache, Adam Dahbache (David Karam Educational Centre of Lebanon), Yehya El Hssien (Ecole Technique De Abi Samra), Ayman Akl, Liam Laba Chedrawi, Carl Barroud & Ralph Takchi (International School Hamra), Jihad Hamwi (Iman Pilot School), Nabil Moussawel, Charbel Chidiac, Pierre Mallouhi, Elio Mallouhi (International School El Koura), Cyril Irani, Anthony Attieh (College Notre Dame De Jamhour), Jad Risk of (Lycee Franco Libanais), Cyril Abi Aad (Saint Joseph school), Ramzi Sfeir (Saint Joseph), Hassan Allouch, Samer Shymasem, Nour EL Baba, Tarek Merehby, Omar Allat (Namouzaj School Tripoli), Zakaria Ammar, Khaled El Masri, Mahomad Hassan, Omar Marhaba, (Amer Fahkr El dine), Jamil el Rawi, Bassel Tlaji, Mohammed Talji, Abdel Karim About, (Ziehrieh High School)
Saudi Select Under-18s squad:
Abdulraouf Abbas, Ahmed El Obeid, Farid Abdulwahab, Hasan Zakzouk (c), Hisham Nassar, Liam McRaith, Mazin Ghobara, Mohammed Mannaa, Nawaf Al Qudaibi, Omer Rathore, Osama Abdullah, Saeed Anam, Salman Abualnasr, Samer Balaa, Usman Naveed, Yousef Safadi, Zander Potgeiter
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