Bulgarian Rugby League has received a major boost following the first international tri-sided club tournament, held in Pernik.
Newly established Valqcite Pernik hosted rivals Lokomotive Sofia and top Serbian side Red Star Belgrade with the inaugural staging of the Perun Cup.
Each team played the other in matches over 20 minute halves with the more experienced Serbians coming out on top. They had to come from behind to defeat Pernik 24-10 after having trailed 10-8 at the turnaround, and defeated Sofia 36-6.
In the derby to finish the contests, Pernik – willed on by the vociferous home crowd – defeated Sofia 28-8 to crown a tremendous day, backed by the Municipality of Pernik.
It was deemed such a success that Red Star president, Željko Delić confirmed afterwards that the Perun Cup would become an annual tournament, after all the teams agreed to return next year.
“We are grateful for the invitation. It was a great trip and a very useful test for our team in preparation for the second half of the Serbian domestic season.” said Delić. “Serbian Rugby League is commited to helping to develop the game in neighbouring countries and, in the future, we are hopeful this tournament will attract more teams.”
He also confirmed that Red Star has brokered a future rugby league club in the Serbian border town of Dimitrovgrad, to be established by both the Serbian and Bulgarian federations.