Norway Rugby League 23/9/2009
On Saturday 19th September the Norwegian national team “The Vikings” played a friendly match against a Barbarians side made up of players from big rugby playing nations like Australia, NZ, South Africa and the UK. The Norwegians second stance on home soil was a big success with the home side recording a whopping 76-16 win over the Barbarians.
The captain of the Barbarians team Anthony Aynsley of New Zealand said “Being a Rugby Union player for 20 odd years I thought playing league would be an easy adjustment, but I was totally wrong and the score line reflects that today. You really have to work hard to win, especially in defence”. The Vikings started their 16 tries to 3 drubbing in the 10th minute when centre Fredrik Skovly ran through a gaping hole in the defence to crash over. 3 minutes later talented five eight Even Gauslaa set up a lovely backline move to put through number 3 Bjorn Mikkelsen right under the black dot. The scoring continued to flow for the Norwegians who played some great attacking sets to make it look easy, as well as having great pleasure in putting some bruising defence on show for the small but thrilled local crowd.
Head of Rugby League Norway Warren Heilig, said “The boys had been bugging me for a while about playing another game this year before the snow halts all match opportunity for us, so we asked any rugby player from in and around the Oslo area to come and try a game of Rugby League against our national team. The guys who played for the Barbarians were given a lesson on how to play rugby league by our boys and it was great to see how far our guys have come since their first ever match against the British Student Pioneers where they failed to score a single point. I now have a great group of people who work with me growing rugby league not just in Norway but around the whole Scandinavian region. Today was a great reward for all the hard work put in by not just the players but all the behind the scenes volunteers at RLN”.
The next step for the Vikings is next year when they get put up into the European Bowl Tournament in 2010 to face teams from Latvia, Estonia, The Netherlands and possibly Kazakhstan. Newly appointed Vikings Head Coach Gareth Turton (former Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Pia Donkeys star) said “as long as we keep drilling the boys well in their core skills and decision making departments there is no reason they can’t win the bowl next year. I mean I have only recently moved to Norway myself and the boys are very eager to get better at the game and they have improved already since my short time as head coach, so things are looking bright for the future of Rugby League in this part of the world”.