The first of four planned rugby league festivals has been held in Münster, north-west Germany, with over 40 participants playing in a mixture of 9s and a full 13-a-side match.
Münster, Karlshöfen and Westfalia (a mixed team based around Paderborn and Dortmund) were represented, with 10 German internationals in action. The hosts won the 9s tournament, beating Karlshöfen 10-4 and Westfalia 18-6; whilst Westphalia downed Karlshöfen 22-10.
An interesting format, splitting the Westfalia squad + the `rest’ into two teams, created an opportunity to blood new match officials, “….. espacially as we used the two-ref system from Australia,” said RLEF Match Officials Educator, Bob Doughton, who also took charge of the 13 a-side match. “We used six referees for the 9s, all of whom are in various stages of development, so each match had two impartial officials from the team that wasn’t playing.”
There are three more tournaments planned in Germany; July 2nd in Paderborn, July 16th in Gnarrenburg and July 23rd in Dortmund, as well as international matches in a triangular tournament against Belgium (August 6th in Dortmund) and Holland (August 13th in Rotterdam).
“We have seen a lot of new talent,” said Simon Cooper, co-coach of the German national team. “It is our intention to select players for the internationals, from the pool of players who participate in these domestic competitions.”