Rugby League Norge has set 29th May as the `return to play’ date for their domestic men’s competition.
“We are optimistically hoping that vaccinations will be far enough along by then for us to be given the green light to kick off,” said NRL president, Jonatan Dam.
“Norway is a quite large country despite being inhabited by a relatively small population and, to reduce travel demands on the clubs, the 2021 season will operate with two regional divisions – South West and North East. The two regional winners will meet in a Grand Final, for the right to be called Champions. We are hoping that this format will allow us to have more games, as travel costs will be reduced for the clubs.”
There will be three teams in each division: Lillestrom Lions, Oslo Capitals and Trondheim in the North East; Stavanger, Sandnes Raiders and newcomers Haugesund Sea Eagles in the South West.
“We are very happy to welcome Haugesund Sea Eagles to the domestic competition,” Dam noted. “Each time a new club joins the series it makes the competition harder and raises the level of rugby league in Norway. The clubs have displayed great determination when it comes to training. Despite a Covid-19 riddled 2020, they still managed to complete sixty two organized and safe sessions.
I received a video the other day of the team shovelling the heavy, mid-winter snow off their pitch so that they could train. If they are able to apply that same tenacity to their games, I am sure they will do great things in the 2021 season.
“Tenacity has been a recurring theme in all the RLN’s clubs during 2020,” Dam added. “Their determination to train makes me optimistic for the future and very confident that the sport will continue to grow in this country.”
Several of the clubs have set themselves up on www.solidsport.no and RL Norge is hoping to be able to livestream games on that platform.
Norway’s wheelchair team is set to make their debut at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, in a group including Spain, Australia and their British hosts.