Peace in the USA, IRLF Copa Italia and Russian News

By Daniel Andruczyk

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? It may well be. After the weekends Donnybrook Cup, which was a successful day for the AMNRL (though there was no way 2500 people there), however not so for the Tomahawks, a meeting between the waring parties of the AMNRL and USARL had been called. Below a press release of the statement. Also some news from the Italian Copa Italia, with a interview with Nick Zisti and the quarter final wrap. The semis and finals will be done tomorrow when some more results from Lebanon come in. Two new clubs join, or should I say rejoin the Russian Rugby League too.

Press Release – Statement on behalf of Rugby League in the United State

“At a meeting held in Philadelphia on March 20th 2011 between AMNRL President, David Niu and Peter Ilfield, Chairman of the USARL we resolved to start a process to find a way to ensure that Rugby League can develop successfully in the United States of America under our leadership. We are agreed that there are more things that unite than divide us, we are prepared to hold discussions in an open and honest fashion in order to find solutions to all the problems that we face. Whilst undergoing this process we are committed to ensuring that there are no interruptions to the domestic and international programmes in this country and that both programmes run successfully for the benefit of players, supporters, sponsors and other partners.

We have worked out a timetable for review and discussion which will be presented to the Rugby League International Federation for their approval and support and will aim to have a full resolution before the end of 2011. During the review we are all committed to supporting Rugby League without hindering any other activities. Our programmes will be open to all athletes, management and supporters who wish to join in.

Finally we both appeal to all members of the Rugby League community in the United States of America to deal with each other in a civil and respectful manner and to refrain from all inflammatory comment or action. We need to remember that Rugby League is our shared passion and that we should be able to respect the views and actions of others. This review will require patience, tolerance and understanding from everyone and we feel certain that our Rugby League Community can demonstrate these values which will greatly assist the smooth running of the process.

Italia Cup Battles Set for Rome as Former NRL Player Joins the Italia RFL

From Joel Morgasn, IRLF Media

The inaugural Italia Rugby Football League Coppa Italia draws to an exciting climax in Rome on March 20, as the remaining four teams battle it out in the semi finals to earn a spot in the Final and the title of Cup Champions. The two Semi-Finals and Final will be played at the prestigious field of Hotel La Borghesiana, in which the Italian Football (Soccer) and Rugby Union national teams prepare and train at before internationals in Rome – with now the Italia RFL joining such company 🙂

A special guest to the Cup finals all the way from Sydney is former professional rugby league player Nick Zisti who played with the South Sydney Rabbitohs (his junior club was Zetland Magpies under Souths), St George Dragons, Hunter Mariners and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks over 8 seasons from 1991 to 1998. He than went over to the Super League to play half a season with the Bradford Bulls in 1999 before a surprise stint with the Italian rugby union national team and in the Italian National Championship – winning the Italian Championship in 2000 with Rugby Roma Olimpic, until the club’s financial issues forced him to retire and relocate back to Australia. A few highlights throughout his career was playing in the (Rugby) World Cup against England at Twickenham before he had played a club game after never playing Rugby at senior level, 1996 Australian Rugby League (ARL) grand final for the Dragons (scoring their only try) and six nations (rugby) tournament in 2000 was an incredible atmosphere. Nick Zisti has decided to commit to the federation after various discussions with existing members since contacting the Italia RFL late in 2010 – we are humbled to have him on board.

He will join the Italia RFL in a ‘Consultancy and Development’ role. Nick Zisti with the Italia RFL together are hoping to bring one opportunity some light – that could move rugby league further down the evolutionary path with the IRFL. The commitment and passion shown from Nick in travelling to Rome from Australia, within his own time – is a bright light for international rugby league. Nick will help provide development opportunities to new and existing players, Coppa Italia attendance and be involved in establishing new future concepts.

An earlier exert from an interview:

Joel Morgan – What made you get involved with the Italia Rugby Football League?

Nick Zisti – Showed interest in Italian Rugby League than expressed this toward the IRFL. Pierluigi Gentile (Gladiators Roma XIII Captain) also contacted me and asked if I would like to be involved and asked if I could help to promote his concept and as I said to him 2 of my greatest passions are Rugby League and the life in Italy.

JM – What influences has your Italian heritage and experiences had on your business and sporting life?

NZ – Living and playing Rugby in Italy was the greatest time in my life, living in Italy had taught me to be more patient and to enjoy my life more thoroughly, the effect of being a rugby player has on business experience has had little impact with my decisions business wise but what it does is introduce you to a lot of people in business world and open a lot of doors.

JM – What potential business connections can you see in Italy?

NZ – Me and my business partners are planning to export our brand of Gourmet Dog Food through help provided by the Italia RFL. We at Bravo Foods in Australia manufacture a high end gourmet food for dogs

JM – When will you be travelling to Italy to see Rugby League showcase and consult with the Italian based members?

NZ – It is a pleasure to be working with the Italia RFL and on some new concepts, I will be there in Rome for the Coppa Italia Final on 20th March. I am looking forward to seeing everyone involved.

The Coppa Italia Rugby League is a knockout event currently played during the Union season (European Winter) by amateur clubs who now play both League and Union (in the one season). These clubs will be ‘feeder clubs’ or be teams associated with their corresponding Rugby League Franchise (ventures in the Italian Championship – Summer season – i.e. Gladiators Roma Rugby League, Spartans Catania Rugby League, Magnifici Firenze Rugby League). The strict rugby league franchises consist of more semi-professional rugby players – with some amateurs – until rugby league has a greater presence and development base.

The 2011 Coppa Italia was organised with the quarter finals being 2 legs (home and away), in order to give more rugby league experiences to the new players and teams.


  • Umbria: Grifoni Perugia 26 – 36 Etruschi Perugia 4th of February 2011
  • Umbria: Etruschi Perugia 36 – 38 Grifoni Perugia 11th of February 2011
  • Etruschi Perugia progress due to 8 points difference.


  • Sicilia 01: Fenice Belpasso 26 – 10 Briganti Librino XIII 16th February 2011
  • Sicilia 01: Briganti Librino XIII 14 – 16 Fenice Belpasso 12th March 2011
  • Fenice Belpasso progress due to 2 wins (18 pts difference)


  • Sicilia 02: Catania Rugby 2009 8 – 14 CUS Catania 08 marzo 2011* **
  • Lazio: Rugby Roma 2000 36 – 24 Corsari Roma 08 marzo 2011 ***
  • Rugby Roma 2000 access to the semi final

* Due to injuries to an number of players of Catania Rugby 2009 the second match couldn’t be run in time for the final
** Briganti Librino XIII access to the semifinals due to pull out of CUS Catania
*** Due to problems with the permissions to use the field the return match between Corsari Roma and Rugby Roma 2000 couldn’t be played

In a major day for the Italia Rugby Football League with growth being, the Coppa Italia Rugby League finals will be played on the one afternoon, with semi finals consisting of 40 minutes and the final being 60 minutes – an historic exhibition game may be played before the final (watch this space).

The Coppa Italia Finali day begins on Sunday, March 20 at 2pm with Semi Final 1, Semi Final 2 (approx 3pm), exhibition game – 4pm and the Coppa Italia Finale – 4.30pm. The remaining teams to battle it out for the right to win the Cup – Etruschi Perugia XIII (Umbria), Fenice Belpasso (Sicilia), Briganti Librino XIII (Sicilia) and Rugby Roma 2000

In an event that hasn’t been seen before since the lost days of rugby league in the 1960’s. The outcome and the real important thing is that the Italia RFL have effectively doubled rugby league participation numbers with these 8 teams taking part with over 130 new players that enjoyed the game, real matches, field, passion and dedication. Our message of growth, development and deliverance is breaking its way through for all to see! More player numbers and depth, awareness of rugby a XIII, media coverage, new clubs taking part in rugby league, more coaches to learn the game and opportunities have arisen due to this one concept. An a somewhat breakthrough with rugby league being played during the union season – until the Italia Campionato (IRFL) begins in June with a clear pathway for scheduling.

Will the 2011 title fall to a team from Central Italy or Southern Italy? Will a Sicilian club take their Coppa advantage or will Rome take control? Find out by attending the historic day for the Italia RFL or following all the news and updates at:

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter –

Two New Clubs in Russia

Its heart warming to see that in Russia the sport seems to be getting back to some sort of normality. We all saw Neil Woods statements in my last article about Russia and that things there are growing and not to discount the Russins in this years World Cup Qualifiers. Two new clubs entering the competition this year. One is from St Petersburg, Lestech, who have played before from 2000-2006. Novick Nicholay their manager had this to say about rejoining

“We have joined the RARLC as our club is keen to play rugby league and the RARLC offers some interesting and attractive competitions for the 2011 season which allow our best players to fight for a place in the national team.”

The other team is RBK Moscow. This was originally a youth team and has now grown into a senior team. RBK used to provide many juniors to the Lokomotive team which has since gone to Union. Vetran Russian Rugby league official Shamil Akbulatov is the manager of the club.

“We are happy to join RARLC. We have developed a whole generation of players, we love rugby league and could never do without the sport. RARLC is the only organization in Russia that unites all the sport’s enthusiasts, and I’m glad to have read its plans and to see it is organising competitions on different levels. Participating in these competitions will allow us to carry on developing our rugby league skills as well as providing an opportunity to have our representatives in the national squad – not only players but our coaches too.”

On a side not looks like NTV Plus in Russia will be showing the Super League on TV for a third consecutive year now as well.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:



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