Paderborn played host to the second Rugby League match day in Germany, with over 40 players once again making the journey from all over the country. Tremendous commitment was shown, especially by the teams from Karlshöfen, Bremen and Berlin, who undertook five hour journeys in order to play.
A tremendous spectrum of experience was in attendance, ranging from six of last year’s national team to players who had never played League before, and it was therefore unanimously agreed to hold a familiarization training session, before play began, under the guidance of co-national coaches Simon Cooper and Bob Doughton. Then followed two games of Touch, to make sure the basics had been taken on board before moving on to full contact.
“The enthusiasm of the new guys was very impressive,” said Cooper. “They were quick to take in the new information.”
With that foundation laid, the players were then split into two teams – `Land’ (based on the State of North-Rhine Westphalia) and `Bund’ (the rest of the country) – and a game of four, 20 minute quarters was played with rolling substitutions. As it progressed, the understandable errors became fewer and there were some truly exciting phases of play, both in attack and defence.
“It was clear that the new guys were beginning to understand the dynamics of League, and coming more into the game,” Cooper added.
That effect was most evident with Tom Atkinson, who made several breaks of 30 metres for `Land’ in the last half of the match. And also impressive was the progress of 17-year-old Seyar Rezai, who made some really strong runs for `Bund’ including scoring a try. Star of the match, however, was Welsh-born Gwyn Barry, who scored a hat-trick of tries for `Land’ with some athletic and determined running.
Bund’ eventually ran out winners, 38-28, mainly by exploiting lapses of concentration and communication in the `Land’ defence.
“Today was very successful,” noted Bob Doughton. “We have introduced over a dozen new players to the sport, taken this opportunity to try out some national team players in different positions, and uncovered some potential for future development. But most important of all, everyone has also enjoyed a great day.”
Further events are scheduled for Gnarrenburg on the 16th July, followed by Dortmund July 23rd.