Another Year of International Rugby League is Complete

By Daniel Andruczyk

So we are at the end of 2010 and all the International Matches for the year are also complete. Over the last week there were only two Schoolboy matches to be done in France, which saw the Aussies end their tour on a high. France, with the Elite 1 has gone into recession with only 1 match to be caught up and that was done on Sunday. So a quick review of where things have gone internationally this year and a new rumour mill. But first some follow up from the last article.

USA Follow-up

There has been an amazing response to my last article about the Denver Wolverines expansion team. My intent is over the coming weeks and months to try and do similar things for all the new WAMNRL teams on here and on  We Are Rugby. I have had a few people email me about getting in contact with specific teams and areas they are interested in so here are some names and contact for the potential expansion areas:

These contacts and some more info can be found on David Niu’s (President of the AMNRL) latest blog on the We Are Rugby website, so check it out.

Australian Schoolboys

The Aussie School boys had two games last week in Southern France. the first was on the 13th against the French U18 squad in Villeneuve with over 1000 showing up to see that match. The Aussies were runaway winners defeating the French 56-12. In their second match against the France U19s they also found the going fairly easy with a good strong win to end the tour in Toulouse 46-18. There it was a smaller crowd of 527 to watch them at the Stade Minimes. So that is it The end of the 2010 International Season. We now look forward to mid 2011 when it all start again.

Elite 1

In the Elite 1, who are in their winter/Christmas break, had only 1 catch up match between Villeneuve and Lezignan to be played out. Lezignan came out strong winners with a 36-00 victory and have cemented that top spot in the Elite 1. So the table now stands as:

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 Lezignan 10 9 0 1 0 235 28
2 Pia 10 7 0 3 0 150 24
3 Limoux 10 7 0 3 0 93 24
4 Avignion 10 6 0 4 0 6 22
5 Villeneuve 10 6 0 3 0 -46 22
6 Carpentras 10 4 1 5 0 -40 19
7 Carcassonne 10 4 0 6 0 40 18
8 UTC 10 3 1 6 0 -33 17
9 St Gaudens / Toulouse 10 2 0 8 0 -221 14
10 Montpellier 10 1 0 9 0 -184 12


Two matches were played over the weekend in round 5. Remember that round 4 was postponed due to floods and so will be played in the new year some time. These were quite close and I think it shows that the competition in Lebanon is starting to get evened up. Years ago USJ would never have been perceived to be title contenders and now lead the table. So USJ defeated AUST 18-12 while Balamand and Jounieh had a close tussle with Balamand winning 12-10. The Wolves-AUB game was postponed and LAU had the bye. The table stands as:

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 USJ 4 3 0 1 0 46 6
2 Balamand 4 3 0 1 1 28 6
3 LAU 3 2 0 1 1 66 4
4 AUB 3 2 0 0 1 16 4
5 AUST 3 0 0 2 1 -30 0
6 Jounieh 4 0 0 3 1 -48 0
7 Wolves 3 0 0 3 0 -78 0

Lebanon now goes into its winter/Christmas break.


So just to wrap up some of the major International tournaments that were played this. All up there were over 30 nations that have played some form of internationals in tournaments of one off games this year. If we split them up into rough regions:

  • Atlantic – USA, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa and Japan
  • Pacific – Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Cook Islands
  • Middle East – Lebanon, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia
  • Europe – England, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Catalonia, Germany, Serbia, Czech Republic, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Italy, Norway, Malta and Sweden

This is a few down from last year, as some nations though still involved in setting up rugby league were inactive on the playing field. Namely these are Greece, Portugal Estonia, United Arab Emirates and Denmark. Belgium unfortunately have dropped off completely from the map. Word is that it’s similar circumstances to what happened with Georgia.

So lets review some of the results:

European Cup – Wales won this in a thrilling one point victory over France in November. They now will go onto the 2011 4 nations against England, Australia and New Zealand

European Shield – Serbia and Russia were crowned Champions of the West and East division respectively.

European Bowl – Malta and Norway, the youngest of the European nations fought out a great match which RLIS had live updates coverage of. Malta won that against the Vikings

4 Nations – The Kiwis came out and showed that the 2008 World Cup was no fluke. In fact one can say that since 2005 they probably have been the dominant team and rightly deserve the title of World Champions and the number 1 spot in the world.

Atlantic Cup – USA showed that they still are the dominant team in this region, however they had a close shave with the Jamaicans. The Jamaicans have announced an intention to try and go Professional and so will be a real force to be reckoned with very soon.

Home Nations – Scotland pulled one out of the bad winning the second tier home nations tournament. This has been dominated the last few years by the Welsh and we see now it has translated through to professional clubs and the national team, winning through to the 4 Nations. Hopefully this will be a similar start for the Scott’s.

MENA Cup – Though a junior tournaments this year, it shows that the Middle East is a rich breeding ground for potential players and Saudi Arabia winning it over the Lebanese shows that. Palestine was also involved which can only be good for the and the region as it builds towards peace.

Italian Tour – Italy played Wales and came out surprising winners

Lebanese Tour – Lebanon toured Italy

Of course there are always a couple down sides to a great year, namely its the issues surrounding Estonia, Catalonia, Italy and PNG. With the RLEF in transition with a new director in Danny Kazandjian at the start of the year, there was communications breakdown where Catalonia and and Estonia were virtually left out of any competition. the Catalonians had to get their own game against the Czech’s set up which they won convincingly and forces the Czechs to clean out their ranks and appoint new directors. Italy and Papua New Guinea have massive rifts in their boards. The Italians have split in two now with the original FIRL based up in the north and the rival IFRL based in the west and south of the country. Work is ongoing to try and unify them. PNG also has seen issues with their board, though no split there are elements fighting for control over the PNGRFL. Russia has also had a split with three parties fighting over what’s left of the RFL federation. Much work is being done on fixing all this by the RLEF’s Danny Kazanjian and the RLIF’s Tas Baitieri.

We now look forward to next years matches, which should be huge. The World Cup qualifiers will start and the 4 nations as well as all the European and Pacific matches will be running again. Fiji and PNG will be starting an annual series now and everyone waits in interest to see how the new western expansion in the USA will eventuate.

World Cup 2013

And as we all know now the 2013 Rugby league World Cup was launched… well it was launched. Not that much pomp and fanfare, and it took many fans by surprise when it was announced. no one knew that it was coming or anything. The groups have been decided and will be in a 4-4-3-3 format with the top 3 in the first two and the two top in the last two going onto the Quarterfinals.

Remember that 12 out of the 14 teams have already qualified, the 8 from the 2008 World Cup plus Wales and the Cook Islands. They both certainly have shown in the last two years that they are competitive with the other nations, as we know Wales won the 2010 European Cup and the Cook islanders made the finals of the 2009 Pacific Cup. So the World Cup 2013 groups are:

  1. Australia, England, Fiji, Ireland
  2. France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa
  3. Scotland, Tonga, European Qualifier
  4. Wales, Cook islands, Atlantic Qualifier

The qualifiers for the last two remaining matches come from two regions, the Atlantic and Europe. These will see 9 more teams compete for 2 places in the finals of RLWC2013. These groups are:

Atlantic – USA, South Africa, Jamaica, (Canada and Japan in a possible play off for the fourth spot)

Europe – Russia, Lebanon, Serbia and Italy

It will be interesting to see who makes it through to those last two spots!

Rumour Mill

So hearing down the grape vine that next years European games will be launched soon. Be a bit of a break up of teams again, closer to the 2007 format with a Med, Shield and Bowl tournaments. Most likely will look like Med: Russia, Serbia,Ukraine(?); Shield: Germany, Malta, Norway; Bowl: Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia(?). Have not heard anything about a Cup or where Italy will fit in all this, but we could see a France, Scotland, Ireland Italy Cup tournament. There should be an announcement in the new year also concerning the Middle East’s schedule.

Merry Christmas

So on that note I just want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that Santa brings you lots of goodies, that you don’t over indulge and most importantly you all have a safe Christmas. For those that don’t celebrate Christmas, happy holidays, festivus and which ever celebration you have, I wish the same safe time and not over doing it as well.

I will be driving to Florida on my first Great American Road Trip, so that should be fun. I should have a couple more articles out after Christmas and before the New Year, so you all will have something to read and hopefully debate about. Hey I look after my loyal readers!

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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