The weekend of the 24-25 September is set to be the most prolific in the history of the Rugby League European Federation. Five internationals are scheduled, across three age-groups and two continents under the RLEF’s jurisdiction, with matches taking place in Spain, Czech Republic, Serbia, Canada and Scotland.
Canada will take on the USA in the Americas Championship/Colonial Cup, Game 1; Spain will meet Serbia; the Czech Republic welcomes Norway; Scotland U19s will face the England Young Lionhearts; and the U21s from both Serbia and Lebanon will put each other to the test.
“This year has continued the trend that sees RLEF members strengthening their cooperation with one another, and seeking opportunities to engage in more competition,” said RLEF general manager Danny Kazandjian. “There have been a number of historic firsts, especially at youth level, which is an encouraging sign that the sport is establishing itself in a number of different nations. More home-grown young players are demanding more rugby league,” added Kazandjian.
“In response, in increasing numbers our members are working with neighbours and trusted partners to satisfy that demand. Ground-breaking initiatives in recent weeks have seen Ireland play their first match at U16 level, and Jamaica host Canada at U17.
“In 2015,” he went on, “the RLEF set a record of 41 world rankings matches. It is doubtful we’ll break that record this year, as it was mainly due to European Championships matches at three levels plus two World Cup qualifying competitions, but there will be a record number of bi and tri-laterally organised games. Italy are looking to play a couple of youth fixtures in Monza, as part of an October ‘Festival of Rugby League’ linked to their 2017 WC European qualifier.
“In addition, we have just seen the completion of the Nordic Cup and the Western Tri-Nations. Italy and Lebanon resurrected the Mediterranean Cup this year, and Serbia’s U21s have toured the Czech Republic.
“Our continuing mission at the RLEF is to provide the stable framework to encourage such cooperation, while continually training and mentoring local technical leaders so that the quality of rugby league can improves at every level.”