European Tournaments finally announced.

By Daniel Andruczyk

This week there finally has been some news on the tournaments in Europe. Aside from the Cup, The shield and Bowl as well as the MENA championships have been announced. Around the world most of the domestic championships are either well into their season or in the case of the French are coming close to the end.

European tournaments

This week the Rugby League European Federation announced the teams for this years European tournaments. Aside from The European Cup, where France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be fighting it out, the European Shield has been expanded to six teams. Two groups of three will fight it out with one group having Serbia, Germany and the Czech Republic. The Other will see the old eastern block with Russia, Latvia and Ukraine . The winner from each group will play in a final. The European Bowl tournament will have Norway, Belgium and Malta playing. Germany and Holland will also have an international and Italy and the USA will have a home and away series as well. The Middle East and North Africa Championships will also be played. Though no teams have been confirms it is understood that at least Lebanon, Morocco and United Arab Emirates will be involved. However news still remains on the other 8 nations in Europe and what their plans are for this year.

National Rugby League

Round three is starting to produce some clear favourites for the title already and unfortunately my Sharks are coming close to setting an NRL record for the most consecutive loses. Results overt the weekend are: Wests beat Parramatta in an exciting match 23 – 12. St George continued their winning was against the Cowboys 33 – 8. Melbourne beat Penrith 16 – 10 while Manly brought Newcastle to earth 36 – 12 and the Gold Coast thumped Canberra 24 – 4. Brisbane suffered a home loss to the Warriors 48 – 16 while the Bulldogs absolutely thrashed the Chooks 60 – 14 and Souths got off the bottom beating Cronulla 30 – 8.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
St George 3 3 0 0 0 51 6
Gold Coast 3 3 0 0 0 27 6
Melbourne 3 3 0 0 0 16 6
New Zealand 3 2 0 1 0 40 4
Wests 3 2 0 1 0 3 4
Sydney City 3 2 0 1 0 -8 4
Canterbury 3 1 0 2 0 22 2
Manly 3 1 0 2 0 16 2
Brisbane 3 1 0 2 0 14 2
Penrith 3 1 0 2 0 4 2
South Sydney 3 1 0 2 0 -5 2
Parramatta 3 1 0 2 0 -13 2
North Queensland 3 1 0 2 0 -23 2
Newcastle 3 1 0 2 0 -26 2
Canberra 3 1 0 2 0 -30 2
Cronulla 3 0 0 3 0 -40 0

Super League

Round 8 of the Super League was completed with results again showing that the early trends seem to stay. Wigan defeated the champions 24 – 4, Bradford beat Quins 19 – 12. Castleford had a close one with the Crusaders 22 – 16 who are really showing to be a surprise packet. Warrington had a win over Wakefield 32 – 16 and Salford beat Hull 27 – 20. Rovers went down to the Catalans 16 – 10 and St’s thrashed Huddersfield 24 – 6.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
Wigan 8 7 0 1 0 174 14
Warrington 8 6 0 2 0 137 12
St Helens 8 6 0 2 0 79 12
Huddersfield 8 5 0 3 0 84 10
Hull FC 8 5 0 3 0 51 10
Wakefield 8 5 0 3 0 -5 10
Hull KR 8 4 0 4 0 -42 8
Bradford 8 4 0 4 0 -46 8
Leeds 8 3 0 5 0 41 6
Castleford 8 3 0 5 0 -45 6
Crusaders 8 3 0 5 0 -77 6
Salford 8 2 0 6 0 -88 4
Catalans 8 2 0 6 0 -102 4
Harlequins 8 1 0 7 0 -161 2

French Elite

The French elite has one more regular round and then catch up games to complete. But after round 17 as I mentioned last week Lezignan cant be beat even with a Bye this week. No real surprise results at this end of the season though Carcassonne did go down to Pia 12 – 25. In other matches Carpentras beat St Gaudens 24 – 18, Limoux beat Villeneuve 30 – 10 and UTC beat Avignion 58 – 24.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
Lezignan 17 14 0 1 2 244 43
Limoux 17 9 0 6 2 129 33
Carcassonne 15 9 0 5 1 137 32
Pia 16 9 0 5 2 116 32
Carpentras 16 7 0 7 2 4 28
UTC 16 6 0 8 2 9 26
Villeneuve 17 5 1 9 2 -97 26
Avignion 17 4 1 10 2 -218 24
St Gaudens 16 1 0 13 2 -310 16

Lebanon Championships

The Bank of Beirut Championships are also getting close to their season end, only 3 rounds and catch up matches remain. Over the weekend LAU thrashed Balamand 52 – 8 while AUB annihilated AUST 78 – 0.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
LAU 9 9 0 0 0 468 18
Jounieh 9 5 1 3 0 38 11
AUB 9 5 0 4 0 69 10
Wolves 9 5 0 4 0 -51 10
Balamand 9 4 1 4 0 12 9
USJ 8 2 0 6 0 -170 4
AUST 9 1 0 9 0 -240 0

Catalonia Domestic Season Continues

Results from Catalonia are in from the University Championships. So University Ramon Lull beat the Autonomous University in Barcelona 22-18, The University of Girona had two wins against Autonomous and Ramon Lull 46 – 16 and 32 – 0 respectively.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
University of Girona 2 2 0 0 1 62 4
University Ramon Lull 2 1 0 1 1 -28 2
Autonomous University of Barcelona 2 0 0 2 1 -34 0

The University of Girona were crowned Champions. There was also a representative game between Catalonian Universities and Rossello. Rossello won this match 68 – 6

Reggae Rugby coming to the UK

The Jamaican Rugby League are sending a team to the Cheltenham 9s on the 24th of April. Once again its wonderful to see this thriving Rugby League nations getting out there and testing them selves. Many of the players are home grown which is great to see. The team is:

Duane Nelson (Dudley Hill ARLFC)

Daniel Thomas (Dudley Hill ARLFC)

Duain Scott (Student Rugby League International)

Edgar Herbine (Jamaica Defence Force Warriors)

Andre Reid (Duhaney Park Sharks)

Romaen Campbell (Duhaney Park Sharks)

Ethon Dwyer (Jamaica Defence Force Warriors)

Tyronie Rowe (Vauxhall Vultures)

Roy Calvert (Duhaney Park Sharks)

Jason Bineham (Jamaica Defence Force Warriors)

Ryan Grant (Duhaney Park Sharks)

Robert Rodney (Olympic Angels)

Claude Yen (Vauxhall Vultures)

Hubert Thomas (Jamaica Defence Force Warriors)

Orien Smith (Jamaica Defence Force Warriors)

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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14 Responses to “European Tournaments finally announced.”

  1. superpaulia says:

    It’s good to see Russia partcipating in International RL once more, even at a reduced level.

    They didn’t compete in the Challenge Cup this year and no explanation was given so I initially feared the worse.

    Not very long ago we all had such high hopes that Russia would become a competitive force in International RL. It is very sad that these hopes have come to nothing especially after twenty years development work with players who have been playing since their early teens.

    • druzik says:

      Oh no, its hasn’t not come to nothing. Though Russia has gone back to square 1 in amny respects that is a bit leap forward for them. See in the past you basically had one guy controlling everything and buying all the top players…. if there ever was an argument to show how and open market goes compared to a Salary cap then Lokomotive is it. A ricj backer that could out bit any of the other teams, semi pro or professional.

      2 things happened. They kept winning the local domestic comp which demoralized the rest of the comp and secondly when they did travel overseas for the Challenge Cup, because there want the development of skills and tactics they would always get beaten, get demoralized and then cocoon themselves back home winning the championships and Cup.

      In the end something had to give.

      But at least no they see that its better to be amateur for a while, get the junior development going, bring the military into the fold since the sport is big there and take it from there.

      So Russia despite a set back last year, never really left and is at least looking to the future in the right way now. Its just a matter of finding the middle found between all three of the groups. Russia can still be a power, just as any country can, but you need to learn to crawl before you walk and run.

  2. superpaulia says:

    It could be argued that Australian dominance at international level has domoralised other nations in a similar way.

    Contrast this (especially the Russian RL) with Italy RU and the way they have become competitive in the Six Nations.
    The French RL also struggle to keep up due to lack of resources.

    I don’t particularly have an answer to this development problem other than application and hard work. I certainly don’t think Australia should lower their standards so everybody else can catch up.

    Maybe we could use some sort of positive discrimination and allow Russian (and more French players) to gain experience in the NRL and Super League?

    • druzik says:

      No I don’t think its that at all. New Zealand and england have been competitive and France and the other Pacific nations do a pretty good job of competing in amongst themselves. PNG in 2007 almost got a series win against the French and France that year almost pipped the Kiwis!

      The other nations don’t play Australia or the big three enough to get demoralized… but that is the thing, look at soccer, some teams go years without facing each other, but they still have a set way of going through tournaments etc… and have regular internationals.

      I think saying Italy are competitive in the 6N is a far stretch, they keep getting pounded each year… but that is not the point. At some point they will come good, just like any team. I was actually having a chat with a mate about this last night at the pub and he is more of a Union fan than League, but one thing we did agree on was at least Union has a regular set of tournaments that are planned years in advance that players, nations and fans can plan for, just like soccer… International rugby league does not have this and this will be its Achilles heel till it sorts it out.

      The French don’t actually struggle that much… the WC was an anomaly, look at England Samoa and Tonga, they all should have done much better than they did, but that is the beauty of a world cup you see… France with more regular matches across the park will improve just like Union is doing with the Italians. So don’t despair… actually I love watching the French play, its my favourite style of RL its very exciting… and frustrating, but as a fan it keeps you on the edge and excited.

      I am not saying we should lower Australia’s standards, certainly I want teams to aim to be where Australia are… but at the same time I don’t want teams not being allowed the best possible chance to get to that level. There have been arguments in the past, and evidence, that has shown Australia and Australian clubs put pressure on players not to play for a country for what ever reasons. There needs to be a level playing field in that respect… and its something that will only be fixed with an ENFORCEMENT of the eligibility rules.

      Your last point is an old argument, and in the past I have argues that maybe teams should do this, but these days I am not sure. Clubs need to bring money in and so should only get the best players from where ever they are… there is no point having a mediocre player from Timbucktoo just to satisfy our conscience. What teams should do is send scouts out to many other nations to look at their players, and if they find talent then certainly sign them up. But not to have a quota. Having said that there probably are 4-5 players I know could make it a good go at the NRL level or at least at the NSWRL/QRL level.

  3. superpaulia says:

    Lets hope the RLEF continues to organise and expand international RL tournaments in Europe. I also hope a similar situation can develop in the Asia/Pacific region.

    I totally agree that eligibility criteria should be enforced. It is very silly that Jarad Hayne should be allowed to play for Fiji in the World Cup then a year later turn out for Australia. I know for a fact that this is off putting and demoralising for smaller nations.

    I also agree that it would be better if each nation could develop separately and bring their own distinctive flavour to international competition as used to be the case. Unfortunately Super League is full of Autralian coaches and European players are often clones of superior Australians.

    I look foward to the day when English/French players will revive their traditional skills, return to regarding RL as a handling game, stand deep and put a move on. Instead we see running from dummy half, flat passes and a continued physical confrontation.

    Obviously muscle must match muscle and this has always been part of the game but European players seem to have lost their ball playing skills. The French in particular are nowhere near as adept as they used to be.

    • druzik says:

      Its not the RLEF as such that spreads the game. The game starts up with people in the countries that want to play the sport. What the RLEF does is that it provides a means to organize matches, get officials and some funding in place to help.

      There now is a Pacific Rugby League Federation that Fiji, PNG, Tonga, Samoa and Cook is have signed up to. This happened end of last year so hopefull that will start to get things rolling as well. But Its important that Australia and NZ also sign into it.

      Yeah Eligibility is Leagues Achillies heal at the moment. Well the english style is much more free flowing than the Australian despite the “Aussies” that are coaching there. A good coach is able to coach to the style of the players rather than enforce an unnatural style on their players. France though is such an amazing style, I love it. In Aus Wests Tigers come closest to the French way of playing, that throwing the ball around and chip kicks, flick passes, almost ad-lib football.

  4. superpaulia says:

    Another problem faced by International RL is the lack of referee credilibility. Referees should be neutral and selected by a strong, independent International Federation which will not tolerate any interence.

    Nothing is more off putting than a touring team arriving e.g. Australia and bringing it’s own referee. The home spectators then have to watch a game played under different rule interpretations than normal. France have particularly suffered during the past twenty years

    A strong independent International Federation should ensure that the same rules are adhered to (as much as possible) worlwide and sufficient neutral officials are available.

    At the moment the Australians seem to have a veto on referees for their matches meaning that an NRL referee or a tame Super League referee is always in charge. This stinks.

    • druzik says:

      Well, referees should always be neutral no matter where they come from and who they referee… I think there is no evidence to suggest there is any bias actually. The RLIF stance is the best referees are selected for the match and if there is a choice then the most neutral one is taken. Actually Australia tends to get Steve Ganson a lot… and he is by no means a “tame” Super league ref, in fact he’s the one that reffed the World Cup final.

      I agree that the RLIF has to be more independent than what it is now, but we need to find money to do this, and I always argues that a big chunk of the WC profits should have gone into this.

      France have suffered because they were run incompetently for 20 years and failed to really develop any decent juniors till recently and made some disastrous decision in the pasts aka PSG in Super League.

      Agree also that there need to be a unified set of rules around the world. As it is we have three at the moment I think. NRL, ESL and other (International).

  5. superpaulia says:

    I do not doubt the professional integrity of any referee anywhere.

    In my opinion Steve Ganson is not a good example to choose. He is a maverick who likes to be the centre of attention and thus makes controversial decisions week in week out in Super League.

    All referees should be impartial and more importantly be seen to be impartial.
    For many years in the UK a rule existed where a referee could not officiate in a game involving his home town club e.g. Phil Bentham and Warrington. This rule has now been discarded and as a result referees seem to bend over backward to be especially fair. In my opinion Phil Bentham favours Warrington’s opposition to avoid any acussation of bias.

    In my opinion this also happens at international level when tame referees e.g. Russell Smith are afraid to give penalties to GB/England.

    It is sad that we can have this dialogue about controversial referees. We should be discussing the match winning deeds of great players.

    Whether my opinions are correct or not is irrelevant. Referees are not always seen to be impartial and the accusations can be made.

    • druzik says:

      Oh and like there aren’t any Australian refs who are like that or have been like that. Remember “Hollywood” gee wonder why he got that nickname.

      No, I think it’s easy to always blame refs… in many respects I think that in the modernisation of the game its getting complicated and every year we seem to hear that the refs are instructed to police this and that, and so it just seems that to get on top of things they are being biased to one side or the other.

      But really all this boils down to one thing… aside from Australia and England we dont have enough refs of high enough standard to be able to always have “impartiality”. Where are the French, Kiwi, PNGen refs? This is what we need to start doing. With the two ref policy now in the NRL, why not start to blood a couple of Kiwi refs and get them up to specs? The Serbians have a good Referee program going, give one of them a shot at Championship and see if they can work their way up… It doesn’t take a degree in Rocket surgery to figure it out.

      It is not sad that we are having this discussion… its a vital part of the game and the referees deserve as much scrutiny and priase as the player IMHO. If there is something to be discussed and scrutinised then so be it.

  6. superpaulia says:

    By the way, Steve Ganson was the video ref in the World Cup final.

    Ashley Klein (an Australian) was the referee.

  7. C.T.SANDERS says:


  8. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Daniel how often do the military in Russia play rugby league.Is it on a weekly basis or is it irregular?

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