GB Pioneers to make History in Poland

By Daniel Andruczyk

The Great Britain Pioneers will be part of Rugby League history in July when they will undertake the first ever Rugby League tour to Poland. Three matches will be played on the 1st, 4th and 7th as well as a series of training sessions to help the local players.

The last year has seen Rugby League start to take its first steps in Poland. Led by Łukasz Łucka, the first Rugby League club has been officially formed, the Łódź Rugby League Football Club (LRLFC) Magpies and the Polish Rugby XIII has been informally formed with the help from Daniel Andruczyk to oversee the sport in Poland.

The GB Pioneers were formed in 2005 and is a team made predominantly from students that travels to new up and coming countries to help in their develop, to help pioneer the way forward for them. The Pioneers made their inaugural tour in 2005 to Estonia and have had successful development tours to the Czech Republic, Latvia, Ukraine, Norway, Kazakhstan and Greece. Each country has gone on to develop and play rugby league domestically and internationally at varying degrees all thanks to the work and help of the Pioneers.

The hard work that Łukasz has put in sees Rugby League in Poland with very fresh players that are young and have never played any of the rugby codes before and have great enthusiasm.

We have young and promising team. I’m sure that these boys with proper training could become first generation of native Polish Rugby League Players. Guys strongly identify with Rugby League and they realize that they write history of this sport in our country.”

Daniel Andruczyk who has been working for some years to try and get interest for Polish Rugby League and has been to Poland to work with the club and held two coaching clinics, said

“This tour is so important for the players. It will be their first full taste of what it really means to play the sport, they will get to train and play against some great experienced players.”

“All the training sessions so far have been great, but if you want to keep interest you need to start playing actual matches, this is that first step for us.”

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Though there is only one club at the moment, there are enough players to start to think about an initial national selection. The Pioneers will play the Magpies in two matches and then the best of those players will be selected for a Polska XIII team that will play the Pioneers in a third match. The match will be played at the Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących nr. 1 which is a Sports High School and has a new sports ground. Łukasz hopes that this tour will help spark more interest in players and potentially get new clubs forming as well as start to bring in some valuable sponsorship. There is already support from the City with the President of Łódź being an Honorary Patron for the tour as well as the British Honorary Consul in the City, also a Patron for the tour.

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The Pioneers visit is great opportunity to get attention of local society, city authorities and media on developing Polish Rugby League. We count that this will pay off in future.

This year is the eighth GB Pioneers tour with 20 Student Rugby League representatives selected from 14 different universities from across all four home nations.

Squad members are ambassadors for their University, country and their sport. Selection criteria considers not only their ability to play the game to a very high standard but players must have a proven track record in undertaking Rugby League development activity.

The GB Pioneers aim to leave a legacy that will provided the Polish players with the basic knowledge and skills to introduce, develop and sustain Rugby League in Poland.

GB Pioneers Team Manager Keith Sandhu said “It is an exciting prospect for the GB Pioneers to go over to Poland and work the Magpies and local community, the games will be a great way to showcase top level rugby league.

Steve Curtis, GB Pioneers Tour Manager added “All the players and staff are excited about the tour to Poland, it is a unique opportunity to travel to a country and introduce something new. Rugby League is a sport we all love and are very enthusiastic about, we would like to pass this passion across the Polish and give them the tools to grow the sport and build their own foundations”

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The Rugby League European Federation have also been important in getting this tour up and running. Correspondence, meetings and help from the RLEF have been important in getting everything into motion and shows that Poland does not have to completely go it alone in its development. Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF Central and Eastern Europe Regional Director:

“Poland is one of last remaining major states of Continental Europe to begin a rugby league project, and is bordered by four RLEF Member nations, so it is very encouraging to see the measured steps taken by the group in Łódź.

“They have investigated what needs to be done to achieve government recognition and have a committed group of players and volunteers. It’s early days yet but their approach has been realistic and sensible and I look forward to working with them to achieve a stable governing body.

“The visit of the Student Pioneers is sure to enthuse our Polish friends even further and I congratulate the Pioneers for the support they have already given to the Poles.”

The tour represents a unique opportunity for Rugby League in Poland and Europe. It will mean that the Game is played right across the Eurasian continental landmass. Poland’s neighbours Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Czech Republic and Germany all have been playing for many years now. With France and England neighbouring them the sport is played from the Urals to the Atlantic Ocean and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.

Anyone in Poland that would like to come and play with the Magpies and see how they can help grow Rugby League in Poland are warmly welcome to come and join Łukasz, the Magpies and the GB Pioneers in Łódź in July.

GB Pioneers Tour Dates:

Friday, 29th June, 2012:

GB Pioneers Leave for Łódź, Poland.

Sunday, 1st July, 2012:

Łódź Magpies vs. GB Pioneers

Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących nr. 1, ul. Czajkowskiego 14, Łódź

Wednesday, 4th July, 2012:

Łódź Magpies vs. GB Pioneers

ZSO nr. 1, ul. Czajkowskiego 14, Łódź

Saturday, 7th July, 2012:

Polska XIII vs. GB Pioneers

ZSO nr. 1, ul. Czajkowskiego 14, Łódź

 

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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  • http://www.rrlf.ru Victor

    Good job, Daniel!
    And good luck!
    Victor

    • http://www.rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com druzik

      Thanks Victor. Who knows, one day it will be Russia v Poland in a match!

  • http://www.rrlf.ru Victor

    I hope so, why not? See you in Moscow sooner or later. Take care.

    Best,

    Victor
    http://www.rrlf.ru

    P.S.By the way, in my previous life back in 1975 (can you believe that?)I played as #10 (fly half)in Warsaw for Moscow Select U-23 Rugby Union team vs Poland and Poland Select teams at Warsaw Central Football Arena…

    • http://www.rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com druzik

      There you go, that is pretty awesome. You may be there as part of Rugby League!

      Look lets see where things go from this tour. Money will be the biggest issue for us to be able to things and our players literally are kids!

  • http://www.rrlf.ru Victor

    Fair enough. Good luck anyway!
    Victor

    • http://www.rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com druzik

      Thanks!

      You know be good to get comments on the Polish website too, from people.

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