At the end of an historic 2016 for Turkish rugby league, five clubs are set to make their competitive debut. Eskişehir Aqua Rugy, Bilgi Badgers RFC, Olimpos RK, Bosphorus Wolves and Kadiköy Bulls will face each other in a competition running until March 2017, less than a year after TRL officials first made contact with the RLEF in January 2016.
By April this year, all the rules and regulations of the sport had been translated into Turkish, and training started in May, with Kadiköy Bulls touring Serbia the following month for their first experience of competitive rugby league. A beach tournament for 14 teams followed in Istanbul and the first representative side played in the Rhodes 8s and faced a Greek XIII in late summer.
Match officials courses were run in November to enable the domestic competition to kick off.
“We are all very excited about the start of our first league which we believe is our best reward after a year of work,” said TRLA development officer Julien Treu. “We would like to thank the rugby league community for their warm welcome and encouraging messages, it greatly helped us along the way.
“2016 has been a challenging year for us but we reached our targets and are now looking forward to an even more successful 2017.”
The Turkish Rugby League Association Championship kicks off tomorrow (25 December) with a double-header at the Maltepe Başıbüyük Stadında in Istanbul, when Bosphorus Wolves face Kadıköy Bulls (kick off 15.00) followed by Bilgi Badgers against Olimpos (kick off 18.00).
The RLEF would like to wish everyone a peaceful festive season and a very happy new year.