Europe Continues to Spread the Gospel and Rumour Mill

By Daniel Andruczyk

Europe, its probably safe to say is the spear head of the global expansion of the game of Rugby League around the world. Now I don’t mean that the RLEF it self is necessarily the one going out and setting countries up, that is done by individuals, but it has the structure and plan to give guidance and support to counties in any which way it can. It also now has some semblance of an structure that allows Internationals to be played in some sort of structured manner and allows new teams to come in at a new level and test themselves. And its does not just limit itself to continental Europe. We have seen over the last year that countries like Canada and Jamaica have joined the RLEF for lack of a local federation and also the South Africans have been traveling there to prepare for the World Cup. Just take a look at the news that has come out the last couple of days.

Rugby League European Bowl Announced

From Phil Caplan

The 2011 European Bowl has been announced, pitting the Rugby League European Federation’s newest nation Hungary against the Czech Republic. The match will be played on 23 July in Budapest.

To date, the Czechs have played in every European Shield competition but have won only one of ten matches. A major re-organisation of the sport in the central European nation; covering the constitution, the board and development plans, means that welcoming their neighbours in the Bowl is viewed as an enticing prospect.

CZRLA National Development Manager Andy Mulhall said, “The CZRLA is really looking forward to playing in Hungary, not only because it will be the first time that our two national rugby league teams have met but also because we are excited at having reached a pivotal point in our RL development whereby our team will be made up exclusively of young Czechs players who are the product of our domestic championship, which this year enters its third season.”

“We know that the Hungarians will be a big, strong, physical team but that is a challenge which will be embraced by all of those who have earned selection in our team.”

The newly formed Magyar Bulls, who will also host a Belgrade selection on 30th July, will equally comprise an exclusively local line-up. Adam Nunn, the HRL pioneer and a former Scotland Student international, is using the activity to gauge the possibility of creating a formal governing body in Hungary.

Germany Announces Squad for European Shield

From Phil Caplan

Germany has named a 28-man train-on squad for this year’s European Shield clashes against Norway and Malta.

A number of players are looking to gain their tenth international cap, including co-captains Bene Rehm and Kristian Keinhorst as well as his brother Nick Keinhorst.

Markus Keinhorst will travel over to link up with his three brothers, Nick, Jimmy and Kristian, the quartet holding the Guinness world record for most siblings playing in a single international game of rugby league.


There are nine new players added to the squad who are hoping to gain their first cap, including Southampton Spitfires’ Andrew Hoggins and Heidelberg’s Yassin Karachi.

Head coach Dan Socks heaped praise on the work of the coaches in Germany who have all been working hard to bring rugby league to more people in the country.

“We have had great numbers at the recent trial games versus Serbia and the British Army and this has allowed me the opportunity to take a good look at some new players,” he said. “Without the work of people like Bob Doughton, Max Schoengen and Uwe Jansen, Germany wouldn’t be able to choose its train on squad from such a large pool.”

But the 29-year-old from Hemel Stags played down talk of this selection being arguably the strongest squad Rugby League Deutschland has assembled. “It’s the most experienced squad we’ve named. Nineteen players have played for the national team before. We don’t know what to expect from Norway and Malta as we haven’t played them before so we’re going to concentrate on improving our international environment and of course, for our domestic German players to put in a strong performance.”

Germany are hoping to go one step further than they have in the past by winning the Shield, after finishing runners up in 2010, 2008 and 2007.


Christian Gabriel, Christoph Huber (Bavaria region); Angelo Hall, Jacob Handy, Thomas Isaak, Artur Schein, Max Schoengen (Calbach Racoons); Yassin Karachi, Bene Rehm (Heidelberg); Dan Stocks (Hemel Stags); Benny Lauer, Anselm Wagner (Hochspeyer Sharks); Mawuli Amefia, Sebastian Roczyn (Karlsruhe); Kristian Keinhorst, Nick Keinhorst (Leeds Akkies); Jimmy Keinhorst (Leeds Met); Markus Keinhorst (Meraloma Rugby Union); Guillaume Stoecklin (Montpellier); Ben Behr-Heyder, Liam Doughton, Max Doughton, Fabrice Fehlmann, Max Froeschner,  Kyrill Goncharov, Nico Koch (Rheinland Reds); Andrew Hoggins (Southampton Spitfires); Paul Shzehofner  (Telford Raiders)

Ramstein Withdraw from German Bundesliga while Heidelberg Take First Honours

While we are still on the subject of Germany, there is much news out from Germany this week. Their local domestic competition was announced last week, however it unfortunate that due to many injuries the Ramstein Rogues have had to withdraw from this years competition. They hope to be there next year however. This mean that the German Bundesliga is a five team competition this year instead of six. Still this is not too much of a set back, just means a team gets the bye. To see the full schedule for the season just click here. As you can see the first game was played on the weekend and I can say that Heidelberg beat Hochspeyer 8 – 4 in the opening match of the season.

The Germans are also looking to design a new logo for the Bundesliga that will go on all their official things from 2012. If you want to help then contact me and I will put you in touch with the relevant people in German Rugby League.

New Clubs Formed in Kingston

Via Phil Caplan

Ever since the start of the rugby league revolution in Jamaica, Kingston has been at the forefront of activity. This tradition continues in 2011 with the establishment of two new teams, the Maxfield Park Star Steppers and Denham Town All Stars.

The Star Steppers are situated in one of Kingston’s toughest inner city communities, Maxfield Park. They share grounds with the Maxfield Park football club, an organization that helped turn a dusty strip of land into a relatively green area for the community children to play and sports to develop.

The president of the football club is Mr. Jenkins and he believes rugby league can further, positively impact the lives of the young men who live there. “I support the rugby league initiative because all sports help to keep our young men out of trouble and up lift our community,” he said.

The driving force behind the Star Steppers is a quiet 20-year-old, Nicholas Wright. Wearing the cap of founder, chairman, coach, water boy and player, he has undertaken a level of responsibility that will be sure to test his resolve and capabilities over the coming years.  He is employed as a security officer and his modest income is bound to feel the burden of purchasing such as white lime, securing transport for players, providing refreshments and all the other small necessities his team needs on match days. Most of his squad are between 17-24 years old and, like many Jamaican youths in that age group living in the inner city, are unemployed.

As Nicholas explains, it is for that reason he wants to make a difference in their lives through sport. “Rugby league will help keep my players from violence,” he noted. “And it gives them something to look forward to. We enjoy it and we want to see rugby league get bigger and grow throughout Jamaica and we are contributing in our own way.”

He continued, “Maxfield Park is known throughout Jamaica as a tough inner city garrison but now we want it to be  known in a positive light, as a rugby league community. We want to overcome the challenges the youths face in their daily lives such as unemployment and so on, our aim is to be the best club on the island. For us, the sky is the limit.”

When asked why he has taken on the onerous task of starting a club Nicholas mused, “I want to see rugby league get recognition and this is my contribution. I have always dreamed of playing professionally and by building a team, one day my dream may be realized. I want to give the youths in my community hope.”

He added, “I wanted my first club since I was 18, I choose  rugby league because I think it  promotes discipline, it’s also a fast growing sport that has a lot to offer my players and my community. We are a brotherhood, it is about family and so is the sport. My only wish is that we get some support from corporate sponsors or individuals who want to assist in our growth, we might not have a lot, but we have ambition to be the best club in Jamaica.”

So far the Star Steppers have given a good account of themselves on the field, they have played all  four fixtures to date in the Kingston & St Andrew’s Championship and although suffering consecutive defeats, there is abundant talent present in the team.

National and Caribbean Development Manager, Romeo Monteith has taken notice; “The Star Steppers possess some of the best foot work you will see on a rugby league field, they are super fast and super fit,” he said. “I have seen quite a few players who would add to the national team and at least two of them will be selected for the Canada international on July 31st. I am very proud of what Nicholas has achieved in a short time. “

BARLA Continue Their Winning ways

BARLA have several teams touring at the moment. Their U19’s are in Serbia at the moment. After their first win they 32-26 over the Serbian U19 they came up against the u23s in Serbia. This time the BARLA team were much more ruthless in their pursuits and were able to easily account for the Serbians 50-6 in Belgrade.


On the other side of the world the BARLA Young Lions are in Australia on their traditional tour every two years. They currently are in Western Australia and played their opening match against Rockingham coming out on top 32-14. They will play a series of matches and eventually will get to play Western Australia in Perth as the opener to the Souths v Broncos game.

Rumour Mill

So as you can see there is lots being done in Europe to spread the sport. With the support there its not hard to for a new nation to get the advice and eventually resources it needs. This is something that has been neglected in the Pacific and Australasian region, where Australia and New Zealand in all reality have neglected the sport elsewhere for their own gains. Other nations that should be much better are not.

But this may change. I am hearing a rumour that soon there may actually be a proper Asia-Pacific Rugby League Federation that will take on a similar role as the RLEF to help develop the sport in the region. Particularly now there are more Asian nations expressing interest in getting the sport up and running such as Indonesia (Bali), Singapore, Thailand and of course Japan has had been playing Rugby League for a while now.


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