Ukraine rugby league report successful season

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FROM: UKRAINE RUGBY LEAGUE FEDERATION

DATE: 23 November, 2017

CONTACT: Artur Martyrosyan (arturrugby)

LEGION XIII DOMINATE UKRAINIAN SEASON

UFRL president Artur Martyrosyan Jnr has complimented all the sides who played this season, which has seen further, steady progress for the sport . “We have completed another excellent season of senior and junior rugby league,” he said. “I would like to congratulate all the teams that have participated, and those that have had success this year.”

Legion XIII were once again the champion side, beating ‘Sokil’ Lvov in the Grand Final to maintain their run of domestic dominance, 2017 seeing them go through unbeaten and conceding their fewest number of points in games.

In the capital, Spartac Stadium saw locals Kiev RLC – the runners-up in the Cup to Legion – face Veres from Rivne to contest third place, the visitors triumphing 40-26, the match having been level at the break.

Fifth to eighth positions were held respectively by Korzo (Uzhhorod), Korabel (Mykolaiv), MSU (Mukachevo) and Kiev Rebels.

Six teams contested the Cup of Ukraine, played in a 9s format for the first time, in Kiev.

“Competition has been good, participation numbers are increasing and we are looking forward to hearing how the qualifiers will work for the next World Cup after the success of the current one,” Martyrosyan added.

PHIL CAPLAN

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RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49.The Rugby Football League Limited also acts on behalf of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in England with company number 3238540. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 698 6526 64. UIT42524252
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Lebanon Rugby League Federation buoyed by reaction to World Cup success back home

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Date: 22 November, 2017

Contact: Remond Safi | +961 3 404345 | info

LRLF BUOYED BY REACTION TO WORLD CUP

“Unprecedented media coverage of the Cedars’ World Cup campaign will lead to increased support at all levels,” claims Lebanon Rugby League Federation president Mohamed Habbous, after the side made the quarter finals for the first time, thereby ensuring their qualification for the next tournament in England in 2021.

“After the first-up pool win against France in Canberra they took significant notice,” added Habbous, who hails from Tripoli, north Lebanon. “We’ve been trying to tell them how strong the team is and how powerful a tool it can be to unite the country and they really saw that after that result.”

Before departure to the tournament, LRLF directors Sami Garabedian and Nayef Abisaid appeared on four lengthy TV features with broadcasters OTV, LBC, New TV and Al Manar. LBC and MTV have had reporters in situ following the campaign, and the country’s print media has provided extensive coverage of a sport it has become increasingly familiar with over the past 15 years. All the major radio stations have kept their listeners updated of the historic progress.

In-depth features have also appeared on the BBC, BBC Arabic and in UK newspapers The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph, and then Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri tweeted his congratulations following the France victory. The Lebanese fans, in Sydney in particular, made further headlines bringing colour, noise and atmosphere to the games against England and Australia, whilst the nation was on the edge of its seat as the gallant Cedars just went out to Tonga in Wellington.

“We started getting lots more requests from various outlets,” continued Habbous, who played for Balamand university in the LRL competition. “We need to consolidate our position now by driving home how professional the organization is on limited funds and what we’ve accomplished in the name of the country. It’s beyond parallel compared to any other federation here. We can now compete proudly against nations who we could only dream of playing in other sports.”

Minister of State Pierre Raffoul officially represented the president of the republic along with the ambassador and consular general at the match against the Kangaroos, and increased government support is one of the LRLF’s targets, in addition to retaining strong links with the Lebanese-Australian community.

A number of companies are speaking to the LRLF to support multi-year development projects in Lebanon, including funding youth academies and affirmative action to use rugby league players to ensure talent and leadership remains there rather than emigrating.

“Our sponsors have been excellent,” Habbous acknowledged. “We are indebted to Chalouhi, Holdmark, PTC, Dental on Evaline, Zahli, Speedway, Jasaara Construction, Trinity Construction, Icon Construction, Excite and Fita – an impressive list.

“We hope that we have made them proud. Their support means so much to us, without it we couldn’t have done as well as we did. They allowed us to focus on the rugby side of things and we hope their continued support in the future will lead to even better results. We aim to keep the same level of excellence and standards in all our upcoming events, especially the mid-season international just announced against fellow quarter finalists Papua New Guinea.

“We’ve also learned so much about relations with the Australian-Lebanese community. Our mission remains to promote rugby league so that it contributes in some way to the betterment of Lebanon’s civil society.”

PHIL CAPLAN

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Honours shared as Serbia rugby league report best-ever domestic season

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Contact: Miloš Šakan T +381 64 39 777 63

From: Serbian Rugby League Federation / Belgrade
Date: 20 November, 2017

HONOURS SHARED AS SERBIA RUGBY LEAGUE REPORT BEST-EVER DOMESTIC SEASON

The honours have been shared as the Serbian rugby league season comes to an end, after Partizan held on to defeat rivals Red Star 32-26 to win the inaugural, regional Balkan Super League title, at the FK BASK Arena in the capital city, in the second ‘battle of Belgrade.’

The competition, which is scheduled to expand in 2018 with more nations and teams involved, also featured sides from Turkey, Bulgaria and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The week before, for the second time in their history, Red Star became Serbian champions after defeating Partizan 44-22 in the SRL Grand Final, held at the Ada Ciganlija Stadium.

The Balkan Super League decider saw the lead change hands four times in the first half. But touchdowns from the competition’s leading try scorer, Vladimir Milutinović, and Branko Čarapić in five minutes in the lead up to the break – which established a 28-16 for Admir Hadžić’s Partizan side – turned out to be crucial.

Red Star’s fight back was too late, Brodie Feeney with a brace of touchdowns.

“It was a wonderful match and an amazing victory for us,” said Hadžić, who was carried shoulder high by his side. “The guys thought all week about what went wrong the previous Sunday and they played motivated from the start.”

SRLF general secretary and Balkan SL tournament director Slobodan Manak reflected on a highly satisfactory campaign. “Overall, including the inaugural season of Balkan Super League, Serbian clubs in both tiers of club competition played a total of 64 games,” he noted.

“It was important for the SRLF to strengthen club competition so that younger players have more chance to gain valuable experience and get quality matches, to prepare them for international tests and the next round of World Cup qualifying.

“That was the driving force behind the founding of the Balkan Super League, it was a challenging decision because of the increasing number of matches that clubs needed to partake in. This is now a semi-professional work load but it paid dividends because, for the first time, three teams equally challenged for the domestic title.”

Manak added: “Holders Dorcol started the season by winning the Super Cup but then their traditional dominance ended. Both Red Star and Partizan showed more during a season that had many surprising results, not least Radnicki Nis gaining historic wins against both Dorcol and Red Star.

“Partizan also won the Serbian Cup, led by the performer of the season, stand off Vladimir Milutinović, who is the leader in both points and tries scored.

“It was a hard and long season even though we didn’t have as many Test matches for our national team, which was the biggest difference from 2016. That’s why we composed a busy club schedule and the top Serbian clubs played as many matches as English or French second tiers sides, which is a great accomplishment.”

BALKAN SUPER LEAGUE FINAL

PARTIZAN 32

Pavle Vojinović, Ronaldo Bitići, Nikola Srbljanin, Vlado Kušić, Žarko Kovačević, Vladimir Milutinović, Džavid Jašari, Petar Kovač, Dragan Janković, Mihajlo Ilić, Denis Bibić, Dario Abidinović, Jasmin Bibić

Subs: Dušan Milutinović, Denis Bajrami, Branko Čarapić, Milan Despinić

Tries: Dušan Milunitović (’7), Vlado Kušić ’(16, ’48), Mihajlo Ilić (’20), Vladimir Milutinović (’34), Branko Čarapić (’39)

Goals: Džavid Jašari 4/6

RED STAR: 26

Miloš Zogović, Ilija Krstić, Mark Pulen, Petar Milanović, Dragan Vasiljević, Stefan Nikolić, Vojislav Dedić, Danilo Kasanović, Vladislav Dedić, Slobodan Milenković, Miloš Ćalić, Adam Pavlović, Jack O’Brian

Subs: Brodie Feeney, Niall Braniff, Nenad Žujić, Slobodan Manak

Tries: Jack O’Brian (’5), Petar Milanović (’13), Miloš Zogović (’32), Brodie Feeney (’55, ’62)

Goals: Vojislav Dedić 2/4, Stefan Nikolić 1/1

Sin bin: Dragan Janković

Half time: 28-16

Referee: Radoslav Novaković

PHIL CAPLAN

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This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

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Canada Ravens debut in women’s rugby league world cup

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FROM: CANADA RUGBY LEAGUE ASSOCIATION

DATE: 16 November, 2017

CONTACT: Paul O’Keefe paulok

RAVENS MAKE THEIR BOW

Canada Ravens team manager and CRLA president Paul O’Keefe believes that the debut of the women’s team in the World Cup in Sydney will be a massive benefit to the sport back home.

The Ravens eventually went down 50-4 to New Zealand on their bow, having only been behind 16-4 at the break and, when back-rower Megan Pakulis crossed in the first period, they were level with the Silver Ferns, who have won three of the four Women’s World Cups to date.

“After discussions with Nigel Wood and David Collier of the International Federation in December 2015, we expressed interest in developing women’s rugby league in Canada,” O’Keefe said from Cronulla.

“With the exposure of the World Cup, we expect to see women across Canada being keen to try the sport,” he continued. “Our preparation started well and we were able to select a very good coaching staff under the leadership of head coach Mike Castle, who works for the NRL in Australia. With the assistance of valuable sponsors we had the opportunity to start in camp in Queensland and played a warm up game which was a very valuable experience.

“The squad has improved each day and we were really pleased with the performance against New Zealand. Having some experienced representative rugby union players involved in our squad means we have some really talented athletes to work with. Learning league has obviously been their biggest challenge and we have seen how the sports can work well together to drive overall participation levels.

O’Keefe can already see legacy from the competition. “We now have players keen to take leadership roles to grow women’s rugby league across the nation,” he confirmed. “Players have come from a wide range of areas so that will help us reach out to many regions. After the World Cup commitments are completed, a strategic plan will be drawn up to ensure this is the start of something great and I can only see positives for the future.”

PHIL CAPLAN

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Expanded Russian rugby league season ends with Moscow derby

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FROM: ASSOCIATION OF RUSSIAN RUGBY LEAGUE CLUBS

DATE: 14 November, 2017

CONTACT: Yana Bokoreva

CSKA MOSCOW CHAMPIONS IN EXPANDED RUSSIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

CSKA Moscow have been crowned Russian rugby league champions following their 28-22 derby victory over Spartak Moscow in the Grand Final, at the Fili Rugby Stadium.

The capital city teams qualified for the play-offs having topped the Centre Conference and were joined by Urals Conference winners Vityez from Perm. Both Muscovite sides defeated Vityez in the series, Spartak winning 42-16 and CSKA 34-14 to set up the decider.

Denis Korolev, president of ARLK noted: “The 2017 season was the beginning of a new development path for us. We have new teams that showed up well and the championship turned out to be high quality and interesting.

“We also held a seminar for coaches and referees and involved new people in the sport. I hope, thanks to the efforts of all people participating in the work of the Russian Rugby League, that we will progress annually and the 2018 season will be even more intense.”

CSKA captain Ivan Troitskyi was named player of the season whilst his co-coaches, Korolev and Dmitriy Polovyh, were also honoured.

PHIL CAPLAN

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E-mail: phil.caplan

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Red Sharks complete the double as 13th Jamaican rugby league season comes to an end

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From: JAMAICA RUGBY LEAGUE ASSOCIATION

Date: 8 November, 2017

SHARKS DO THE DOUBLE AS SEASON COMES TO AN END

The thirteenth JRLA championship season has ended with Duhaney Red Sharks completing a three-peat, retaining their title with a hard-fought 10-4 win over GC Foster College at the Up Park Camp, home of Jamaica Defence Force.

The tense contest was settled with less than ten minutes remaining, Fabion Turner with the decisive try. Red Sharks assistant coach Roy Calvert commented: “That’s three Grand Final wins in a row, we never get tired of them! It was a tough match but we executed our game plan brilliantly. We were without eight first team players but the others really stepped up and showed that our systems work. That’s what was most pleasing.”

Losing GC captain Chevaughn Bailey added: “It was a good game. We failed to complete our sets and as a result couldn’t break the Sharks down. We got frustrated and the team with the least errors won on the day. Congrats to Duhaney Park and to my team as well on making the final.”

Liguanea Dragons claimed third after a spirited 20-16 win over Jamaica Defence Force in their play off match as part of a double-header.

Jamaica Rugby League director of rugby, Romeo Monteith, said the season was a successful one overall. “Our match official turn out has been a positive and well done to Washington Bulls who finished fourth on the league table having defeated several established sides in only their second season.

“We had a good international season with games against USA, Canada and France and the highlight was victory in our first-ever home fixture against the Wolverines. Finally, our fans got to cheer the Reggae Warriors in person.

“This has been one of our most challenging seasons to date, not least because it has rained incessantly on most weekends. Nevertheless, the clubs have stuck to the task and produced some thrilling moments and we are happy to complete the season on a high.”

PHIL CAPLAN

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Rugby League International Federation publishes Annual Review 2017

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The RLIF Board met in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday November 1st followed by the Annual General Meeting which was held on with 40 international representatives in attendance.

As well as the formal business of the meeting, delegates received and welcomed the annual review which highlights the continued growth of rugby league across the world throughout 2017. Within the Review and record number of sanctioned international Rugby League matches were reported during the past 12 months together with a highly successful Festivals Tournament in Australia and the Wheelchair World Cup which was hosted in France. To download the 2017 Annual Review click here

As further evidence of that expansion, delegates supported the elevation of Federazione Italiana Rugby League (FIRL) to the status of Full Membership of the Rugby League International Federation. They are the nineteenth nation to achieve full member status.

RLIF Chairman, Nigel Wood commented on the meetings;

“Our annual general meeting is an important landmark for the RLIF each year. We see and hear from delegates from around the world about their progress and challenges. It is a chance for all our Members to participate in the governance of the sport.”

“It is a particular pleasure to welcome FIRL into full membership. Their recognition is the result of hard work behind the scenes to meet the criteria which covers all areas of their operation. I offer my congratulations to Italy and my thanks to all the delegates who attended.”

The Members further learned of the plans to host an Emerging Nations Tournament and a Commonwealth 9s Championships in 2018. The Board received details of the feasibility of a Rugby League Nines World Cup in 2019 and the welcome news that GAISF will review the application of Rugby League to become an Observer Member at their November meeting.

During the past year, the ownership of the Golden Boot awarded to the International Rugby League Player of the Year has reverted to the Federation and the award of the 2017 winner will be made in the week preceding the World Cup Final.

A Full Operational Manual containing all the Rules and Regulations impacting on International Rugby League was distributed to Members and the AGM welcomed Alex Hayton to the RLIF Board replacing Garry Fissenden.

Finally the Chairman Nigel Wood reported that the Board had commenced a review of the Federation’s governance with a view to including greater independence and modernising the Constitution.

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