The RLN (Rugby League Norge 13s) Championship kicks off on Saturday (6th May), with seven clubs competing to win the Grand Final on 28th October.
Sandnes Raiders will travel to Porsgrunn to get the competition underway, and with the Norwegian U19s national side meeting Serbia’s U18s in Oslo in Norway’s first ever youth international, on the following day, this promises to be an exciting opening weekend.
During the season, Stavanger Storm, Sandnes Raiders, Flekkefjord Tigers and Porsgrunn Pirates (the four Southern Conference teams who have all been competitive in pre-season action) will meet home and away. The top two will then progress to the semi-finals to meet the top two from the Northern Conference.
The RLN Southern Conference is spread over 400 kilometres, from Stavanger in the west to Porsgrunn in the Telemark region to the east. Relative neighbours however, when compared to the Northern Conference which houses defending champions Trondheim, 2016 beaten finalists Bodø Barbarians, and the oldest established side, Oslo Capitals, with Oslo and Bodø 1200 kilometres apart.
“After a successful campaign in 2016 we are seeking to lift the championship to the next level,” said RLN official Kim Andre Seglem. “The level of skill is improving at a rapid pace and our national team training sessions and pre-season tournaments are showing results in terms of players’ decision-making and competitiveness.
“There are also other expansion projects on the go, including youth development. Last season we recorded a 35% increase in the number of registered players and we are confident that will rise again this season.”