This weekend will be a super weekend for international rugby league

15th May 2019, 14:00

Rugby League fans across the world will have a huge variety of action on May 18th.

In London, Norway will play Greece in the RLWC2021. This game is the eliminator which features the winners of Euro Championship C in both the northern pool and the southern pool. The winners will enter the final qualification stage in October and November when they will be in a series against Scotland and Russia. Its an amazing opportunity for both nations and one which both ate looking forward to.

RL Norge Director, Lee Johnson was able to put the game into a wider context saying

"This match comes on the back of some great internal news as well, that the Norwegian sports governing body have recognised us as a sport and the Domestic comp will come under Norwegian rugby federation. All of this will help with the development of rugby league in Norway. 

"Throughout these last month of behind doors talks with RLEF and Greece it has been great to see all party’s wanting the same thing. To put on the best show we can at rank 19/20 in the world and make this a day for all players to remember for rest of their lives. Both teams have struggled with outside forces pushing them but this game is a statement to tell every Norway and Greece are hear to stay and look forward to bright futures whatever the outcome come Saturday."

Meanwhile Greek Rugby League Association President, Georges Stilianos sees the game as a unifying opportunity for Greek fans saying:

"We have been looking forward to this match ever since we won our last qualifying matches in September.  We have been concentrating on beating Norway and nothing else beyond that.  There are about a dozen fans travelling over from Greece, plus the Greeks living in London that will join forces on the day to make some noise for the team and hopefully get them over the line!"

In Barcelona, the 2018 Rugby League Challenge Cup winners, Catalans Dragons, will face the 2018 Super League champions, Wigan Warriors,  in a ground-breaking event at the Camp Nou Stadium, the home of FC Barcelona. 

The Dragons are hoping to attract the biggest ever crowd for a Super League game and have received great support from the whole rugby league community in France. The French Federation have arranged for all domestic games to be cleared from the calendar to allow as many fans as possible to Barcelona and support the Dragons. Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and is seen as a pilgrimmage for Catalans. The Wigan fans too are looking forward to the event with over 4000 tickets sold to them.

In Toronto, at the Lamport Stadium, Canada Rugby League will be hosting the Americas Nines which features the USA, Jamaica and Latin Heat as well as the host nation. The tournament is an opportunity for players to showcase their talents in a shorter form of the game and also for fans to sample the Lamport atmosphere that has been ceated for Toronto Wolfpack games.

Coach Sean Rutgerson commented: “The USA is really looking forward to the Nines comp and we hope it will provide the fans at Lamport with plenty of excitement and action. Nines offers more room on the field with fewer players so we should see the faster guys really showing off their athletic skills.”

Finally in Istanbul, Turkey, the Rugby League European Federation will be holding its annual congress attended by over 40 delegates reresenting 23 different nations. RLEF General Manager is keen to emphasise the importance of these gatherings saying:

“There is a vibrancy in international rugby league and we all should take great heart from this. Turkey who recently became an RLEF affiliate member have shown tremendous growth in recent years and it is fitting they share the spotlight on this wonderful weekend." A central part of that congress and the weekend as a whiole will be the first meeting at full women's international level between Turkey and Italy.

Gurol Yildiz, TRLA president: 

 “It is a very exciting time for Turkish Rugby League especially woman’s rugby league. May 18 2019 will be an historic day, our first ever women’s  international match and hosting this magnificent gathering from rugby league across the whole of Europe. We are extremely pleased & honored that the Italy women's rugby league will share this wonderful moment with us and all the delegates.