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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Germany defeat Netherlands in Rotterdam

Germany retained the Griffin Cup but only just, after an impressive display from a new-look Dutch side, the visitors holding on to triumph 8-6 in Rotterdam.
The final hour of a tense match was scoreless following Emerson Werk’s converted opener for the hosts on eight minutes and tries by Jannek Hagenah and David Ziekursch’s for Germany.
The two-point defeat was the closest the Dutch had come to the trophy, in June 2015 Germany won 46-12, the year before the Dutch were crushed 70-16 at home, and in 2013 their neighbours won 28-22.
According to Thijs van der Zouwen, the Nederlandse Rugby League Bond president: 
“The NRLB fielded our strongest national team yet. Never before have our players played so many matches during the domestic season, nor have we had so many trying out for the squad in the Netherlands. We had a great training camp in the week running up to the match.
“Our national coach Kane Krlic selected a great set of lads that are all willing to work hard, listen and improve themselves,” he continued. “In a limited amount of time he managed to form a tight-knit team, he has really raised the level of the sport and his knowledge of the game has been a tremendous help to both the players and the coaches in the Netherlands.
“We might not have won this time but we feel we can build on the game. Ten out of the 17 players were under 24 years old. We lost quite some experience with the absence of veterans like Jorge Vasquez and Jason Bruygoms but their replacements did an excellent job.”
Van der Zouwen added: 
“Our hooker Joe Storm, for instance, showed great perseverance when he dislocated his shoulder but returned to the match after the medical staff managed to pull it back in. We hope to keep the core of this team together and build on this in the coming years.
“The German team and staff are a good bunch of guys, post-match turned out to be quite productive. Both nations are looking to see how we can grow grassroots league and we discussed how we can help each other out. Hopefully Dutch clubs will be playing friendly fixtures against German teams in the coming months.”
Germany co-coach Bob Douhgton said: 
“It was a tough encounter with the Dutch having a much-improved side and Germany fielding only domestic players. We were unable to take advantage of good field position in the latter stages, being camped in the Dutch quarter for long periods. Thankfully our defence held up and we were able to come away with the win, defending the Griffin Cup for another year.
David Scholte, Engin Hoke, Thijs van Der Zouwen, Daan van Rossum, Marijn Steenland, Benjamin van Bodegraven, Sjoerd Dijkhoorn, Taco De Boer, Joe Storm, Emerson Werk, Koos Wabeke, Patrick Neuteboom, Daniel van der Waas
Subs: Edson Neves Aldair, Patrick Funk, Daniel de Ruiter, Wouter Naloop
Try: Emerson Werk (8)
Goal: Joe Storm 1/1
Mawuli Amefia, Jannek Hagenah, Frede Florian, Sebastian Peter, David Ziekursch, Vivien Seelweger, Ingo Borgdorf, Karsten Brüning, Liam Doughton, Edward Briggs, Marc Zupan, Zak Bredin, Arn Falk
Subs: Felix Buhla, Rico Wall, Jorg Schlarb, Joshua Leutenecker
Tries: Jannek Hagenah (13), David Ziekursch (22)
Goals: Doughton 0/2

Friday, 12 August 2016

Justin Hodges Calls for 9s World Cup

Former Kangaroos and Queensland centre Justin Hodges says rugby league should introduce a Nines World Cup to help the game grow internationally.

Writing for, Hodges said: 

"Next year's Rugby League World Cup in AustraliaNew Zealand and Papua New Guinea will be a great showcase of the game but if we are to put rugby league in a position to compete for Commonwealth Games or Olympic glory we need to find a way to be more inclusive.

"The emergence of the Nines concept has been hugely successful through the Auckland Nines and there was even a Commonwealth Rugby League Championship held in Glasgow two years ago in the lead-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"As they have in the Rio Games, rugby sevens will feature at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and while it's a shame rugby league won't figure, it shows a path we should try to follow.

"We've come a long way with the Auckland Nines tournament in the past three years; why not open it up to the rest of the world? In terms of growing our game, that's what it's all about.

"Cricket's T20 format features a World Cup every two years and they are now being invited to participate in future Olympic Games; we don't need to be that far behind.

"It was fantastic to see the Aussie girls claim gold in the rugby sevens this week and our own Jillaroos and the Kiwi Ferns have shown in their games in Auckland that they can put on a sporting contest just as entertaining and just as skilful.

"We've got both men's and women's teams now and it would be a great spectacle but everyone has to put their heads together to see how we can make this work. If it does work it will be fantastic for our game.

"With the World Cup format as it stands it is difficult for emerging nations such as Jamaica, Canada, Spain and Serbia to qualify let alone be competitive but a nines tournament would invite an even greater pool of countries to take part and gain invaluable experience playing against the game's very best.

"It seems incredible to me that teams representing Chile and El Salvador played a 13-a-side game in Sydney in June and I have no doubt that if rugby league was able to showcase itself globally that we could attract some amazing athletes from all over the world to play our game."

Thursday, 11 August 2016

England Supporter Starts Petition Aimed at Wayne Bennett

An England supporter has started an online campaign to petition Wayne Bennett to only select players born in England or with an English parent for the national team.

Bennett has been linked with attempts to entice the likes of Blake Austin and the Morris twins to elect for England, with the trio qualifying through English grandparents.

Dave Sinclair, from Leeds, has launched a petition aimed at Bennett. It states:

"We, the fans, are unhappy about the rumours of the England Rugby League Team being flooded with Australian-born players, with tenuous links to English nationality.

"We want our England team to be made up of English players, please.

"If they weren't born in England or have an English parent (not grandparent) then they shouldn't take the jersey. This is the international game, not club rugby. It's about making the best of what you have, not sneaking 'ringers' (who might not actually be that much better) in through the back door.

"We don't want to see any more players selected through the loopholes of residency or the grandparent rule. Please Wayne, don't go down that route. A coach of your calibre shouldn't need to do things this way. Just because they're 'eligible' does not mean it is right... or what the fans want. We have plenty of talented players in Super League (and genuine English players in the NRL) please don't snub them in favour of Australians whose Grandma once drank a pint of John Smith's.

"Best wishes,

"The England fans."

CLICK HERE to sign the petition

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Belgium beat Germany 26-12 in Dusseldorf

An experienced Belgian team got off to a winning start in the Triangular series after a dominant second half performance saw them power past a German side who must now beat the Netherlands to avoid the wooden spoon.

Germany took an early lead in Dusseldorf through their captain Mawuli Amefia, but struggled to keep their more experienced opponents at bay, with strong running and decisive passing putting Leclerq and Bertrand over for well taken tries.

Despite the pressure on their line, the Germans began to get into the game and came close on several occasions to finding a try, only to be held up as they attempted to truck it up the middle, rather than sending it out to the wing.

The pressure finally told and Amefia got his second try with a quick turn of pace that saw him speed clear, with Keinhorst adding his second conversion to give Germany a 12-10 lead at half time.

The game continued at a ferocious pace in the second half with both sides trying to force a way through. This brought a number of handling errors from both sides as passes were thrown in hope as much as expectation, with German forwards particularly guilty. When the breakthrough came from Blauzaquois with 10 minutes left, it signalled the end of the German resistance and two more tries came from Guilmard and Leclerq with his second as Belgium emerged from the battle with a 26-12 victory.

“It was very disappointing to have lost the match through such schoolboy errors, especially after we had contained the Belgian threat for so long” 

commented joint-coach Bob Doughton. 

“Simon and I will review the video footage and we will have to rectify those faults before we face Holland next Saturday in Rotterdam”, he added.

Belgian Captain Nicolas Bourguin spoke of his team’s preparations

 ”We were prepared to face a good side and it took time to get through their solid defense. The battle in the middle field was the key of the game and we tried to managed it correctly. Next step is Holland, we know that it should be a very competitive game, so we must be prepared.”

Germany travel to Rotterdam on Saturday 13th August to face the Netherlands in the second game of the series.

GERMANYMawuli Amefia, Jannek Hagenah, Sebastian Peter, Joshua Leutenecker, David Ziekursch, Vivien Seelweger, Nick Keinhorst, Karsten Brüning, Max Doughton, Arn Falk, Zak Bredin, Marc Zupan, Andrew Hoggins, Ingo Borgdorf, Sebastian Roczyn, Felix Buhla, Edward Briggs

BELGIUMHalidi Hatoubou, Blauzaquois, Yann Bertrand, Ilias Laarchiri, Guillenard, Yvan Leroyer, Kamel Belkhiri, Lopez, Quentin Leclerq, Stanislau Salongo, Bahemou, Jonathon Bouillon, Nicolas Bourguin, Marco Cagnolati, Colin Niez, Kamal Singh, Zakaria Zoubir

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Denmark Defeat Sweden in Nordic Cup

A hat-trick on either side of half-time by Danish winger Mads Hansen, one of seven debutants in their side, saw Denmark defeat Sweden 50-18 in Roskilde, in the final match of the 2016 Nordic Cup, already won by Norway.
Five unanswered second-half tries sealed the win for the Danish XIII after the visitors had led three times in the opening half but ran out of steam.
“We were especially pleased to introduce several debutants, who all did themselves proud,” said Danish RL President Richard Munk Naylor. 
“These two sides have put on higher quality performances but that’s part of the process of bringing in new talent and the players gelling together. I have a feeling that both Denmark and Sweden will be better next year.”
The hosts had to wait until the stroke of half-time before they took the initiative, Silas Mubanda going over for his second try to level the scores at 18-18. And in the final set of the half, a flowing move from the restart saw Hansen released down the right touchline to score his first touchdown and the Danes never looked back.
After Hansen’s second and third tries, another debutant Keli Rasoqosoqo grabbed a brace, either side of Danish captain and hooker Steve McCarthy‘s try.
The Swedish XIII had started well, prop Luke Roberts went over from their first set, the score cancelled out by Steven Kristiansen’s impressive solo run, before Michael Strøyberg got on the end of some good right-to-left handling to put the visitors ahead once again.
Powerful Mubanda crossed for his first try from a scrum but when Swedish skipper Sebastian Hylander followed up his own well-weighted grubber to score and hooker Benjamin Rehmie added his third goal, it looked as though the Swedes might take a lead and psychological boost into the break.
But the Danes had other ideas and were relentless in the second half, Rasoqosoqo taking their total to nine tries and bringing up the half-century. Sweden showed great spirit in the closing 12 minutes, holding their opponents scoreless.
“We stuck with the Danes for the first half with a young team,” 
said Swedish Coach Ashley Brown. 
“I couldn’t fault the boys that made their debut and the experience will have done them good.”
Mark Bailey, Mads Hansen, Joseph Simmonds, Steven Kristiansen, Anders Sørensen, Justin Eyles, Ben Simmonds, Zanki Nikolajsen, Steve McCarthy, Andrei Ungureanu, Henry Miller, Eugene Hanrahan; Keli Rasoqosoqo, Silas Mubanda, Robert King, Abdallah Morad
Tries: Kristiansen, Mubanda 2, Hansen 3, Rasoqosoqo 2, McCarthy
Goals: Eyles 3/3, B. Simmonds 3/4, J. Simmonds 1/1, Ungureanu 0/1
Aladdin Bakbouk, Chris Regan, Maake Fakaosifolau, Michael Strøyberg, Steve Davy, Sebastian Johnson-Cadwell, Luke Roberts, Benjamin Rehmie, P. Olof Olsson, Chris Logie, Samuel Ahlbeck, Paris Ghavidel-Asgari; Daniel Pilgaard
Tries: Roberts, Strøyberg, Hylander
Goals: Rehmie 3/3

Monday, 8 August 2016

Initial Activity In Turkey

A total of 19 coaches have graduated from the first level 1 course held in the municipality of Kadikoy, on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey.
The course, which featured men and women, was led by Serbian Rugby League Federation coach educator Slobodan Manak.
The local council provided a conference room and pitch, participant and Turkey RL board member Oytun Çölok commenting: “I have learned a lot of things about coaching generally and the basics of rugby league, it was very good. We have had so much help that I feel we are at the beginning of something very special.”
Following the course, the initial domestic activity in the country saw 140 players take part in a five-a-side league tournament on Kadikoy beach, involving 12 male and three female teams. In all, six clubs and three university sides took part encompassing the cities of Istanbul, Edirene, Eskisehir and Konya, with over 40 games played.
Kadikoy beat Ottomans in the men’s final with the hosts also winning the female competition, defeating Trakya.
Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF regional director for Central and Eastern Europe said: “Despite the coup here, it was essential to support the coaching course for the future development of rugby league in Turkey. This was a big occasion for the Turkish Rugby League Association and I was proud to witness it. There is huge potential here and I hope the TRL finalize formal registration of their association very soon and become part of the growing RLEF family.“
Turkey RL founder Julien Treu added: “The tournament was over two days and extremely enjoyable for all the players. We were eager to go forward with this despite some political issues here and the result was really convincing, it will help us to go forward in the creation and development of the sport in Turkey. This is a great first step for us and we now have coaches that can be sent out to other cities who will work with new clubs. The next step are referee courses which will enable us to start a league as soon as possible.”

Friday, 5 August 2016

USA makes bid for 2021 RL World Cup

The United States has submitted a bid for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup as it seeks to host the tournament for the first time.
England, which hosted the competition in 2013, has already announced it will bid for 2021.
The USA proposal has been put forward by Sydney-based sports marketing company Moore Sports International.
If the bid is successful, it would be the first time the competition has been held outside Australasia and Europe since it began in 1954.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Sweden miss chance to win Nordic Cup

Sweden missed out on a chance to win the Nordic Cup after being caught out early on by their Scandinavian neighbours Norway in Stockholm.

Sweden came into the game with high expectations, but were slow out of the blocks against a determined Norwegian team and found themselves 10-0 down after only nine minutes, thanks to two long range tries from Stephen Mwikaria.

Being down so early left the hosts with a huge task and they were unable to respond until Chris Ah-Lam found himself enough room to barge over to reduce their arrears after 22 minutes.

Both sides then began to battle and force chances in front of a passionate crowd. This led to tempers flaring up and some indiscipline to come in, with Maake Fakaosifolau spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a clumsy high tackle. This came between Norway extending their lead through a converted Jørgen Schmidt try and Sweden again fighting back with a well taken try from Sam Cammell. 

The extra man proved enough for Norway to extend their lead further after a line break and sprint to the line saw Reidar Flage go over.

Norway lead 20-12 at the break, but couldn’t shake off the Swedish threat at the beginning of the second half when, now back up to the full complement after Fakaosifolau’s return to the game, Sweden got back to within two points after Marcus Teodor Loxvi found space in the corner to score and Noak Jönsson continued his excellent kicking day with a touchline conversion.

Norway were not rattled though, and came back strongly, breaking the Swedish resistance with both Eric Mellor and Harald Mikalsen bursting through the line and scoring within four minutes of each other, Tries that silenced the vociferous Swedish crowd and gave Norway breathing space.

Fabian Wikander scored another try for his country after 69 minutes to give a bit of hope to the home team, but this hope was quickly extinguished in the last 5 minutes as, again, Mellor and Mikalsen found space to score within four minutes of each other, with Svein Åge Breimoen slotting over both conversions to secure the victory and Nordic Cup glory for Norway as they won 40-24.

Sweden’s Captain Joakim Svennson spoke of his disappointment after the game: 

“This loss hurt all the boys badly. We had a great chance to win the Nordic Cup this year and the effort and heart were there, but we let ourselves down defensively in the middle”

The Swedish Coach Ashley Brown praised Norway, while also giving his team credit: 

“I can’t fault the effort from the team and we didn’t play badly, but we were chasing Norway from pretty early on and were always a try or so behind. We had the momentum coming into the last 10 minutes and it was our time to put them away, but just didn’t execute in the green zone. Full credit to Norway.”

A delighted Norwegian Team Manager Anne Haigh spoke of her pride at the performance: 

“As the manager for the Norwegian Rugby League team, I would first say I am very proud of our players. We have had some really good training camps in Oslo and we can now see the result of all the hard work. The Swedish team were a great team to play against and we had to work hard to get the win. It was a good match for spectator to watch as our lead was never a big one.”

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

USA defeat Jamaica to set up winner-takes-all clash with Canada

USA 54 Jamaica 4. 

The USA Hawks played their first competitive game of the year and proved just too strong for the developing Jamaica Reggae Warriors. 

Jamaica will head home from this series having suffered two defeats but had invaluable time together as a squad and this will set them up for future encounters.

The deciding game of the Americas RL Championship will be the USA vs. Canada in Toronto on Sept 24

Friday, 22 July 2016


“Rugby league is going global and there’s no turning back,” 
claims former Wigan and Wakefield great and ex-Penrith, Sydney, back rower Bill Ashurst, after visiting Serbia.
Ashurst, who made three appearances for Great Britain in the early 1970s before heading to play in Australia, was a part of the England Lionhearts (North West) U18 coaching stuff that participated in the Belgrade Trophy recently, a four nation tournament for U18s.
“I never imagined that rugby league would bring me to places like Serbia,” he said. “The game has so much grown since my playing time and it’s a wonderful thing, I’m glad that I can still be part of it.”
A professional player for almost 20 years, Ashurst was man of the match, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy, in the 1970-71 Championship final when at home-town Wigan and was signed by Penrith for a then record fee. He was subsequently voted into the Panthers’ ‘Team of Legends’ in 2006, and also played at Wembley in the 1979 Challenge Cup final after another record transfer to Wakefield.
“This was my first time in Serbia and certainly not the last,” he commented. “I’ve been impressed with the level of commitment of SRL, their hospitality and set up. I’ll make sure that people know those over there love rugby league and are trying their best to develop it.”
“The tournament was a good experience for all of us, we learned from each other and hopefully there can be more like them for youngsters in the sport, wherever they come from.”
Ashurst has also backed Serbia in their bid to qualify for the 2017 World Cup. They face Wales and Italy in the final round of European Qualifiers in the autumn, aiming to get to their first-ever finals.
“I hope they can make it,” Ashurst noted. 
“It would be a big help if the Serbian heritage players chose to play for their country of origin. I’d love to see them there.”