CZECH REPUBLIC RUGBY LEAGUE NATION OVERVIEW
Information on this page was updated – 11/3/2014
Foundation Year – 2006
International Team – Czech Rugby League
Top level domestic competition – Has been running since 2009. The competition runs from April to November. The four teams that play in the 2011 Championship are Prague, Beroun, Pardubice & Vrchlabi. Praslavice and Chrudim are the other registered clubs, but they are not playing in the full competition as yet.
History – Czech Republic is a new rugby league playing nation and continues the trend of European nations taking up the sport. Rugby League found it’s way to the Czech Republic via former Czech Union international Milan Mrtynek. Mrtynek fell in love with rugby league after attending a game at Odsal Oval involving Bradford and St Helens in the north of England and this new found passion led Mrtynek to form an executive body, together with Czech nationals Jan Sluka & Michal Priputen, & long-term British expats John Anderson & Iain Sellers, which went on to form the core of the early Ceska Asociace Rugby League (CZRLA)
In 2006 the Czech Republic were involved in their first international games against the touring British Pioneers, the Netherlands and Serbia going down narrowly in each of those games.
In May 2007 the British Police toured Czech Republic to help with the development of the game. 1300 students were allowed time off school to be involved in the day long rugby league festival which included the debut of the first ever junior domestic team, Beroun, the hometown of Mrtynek & Priputen, playing a match against the touring Gateshead team. In the main match of the day the British Police defeated the Czech invitational team,
In August 2007 the Czech Republic’s national team played in a development tri-nations series against Serbia and Germany, but failed to register their first win against vastly more experienced teams; and in 2008 they competed for the Euro Shield against Italy at home & Germany away, going down in both matches.
In March 2009 the RLEF assigned two development officers to continue with growing Rugby League in the Czech Republic. On the back of this, the first ever domestic game between Beroun Black Panthers and the Pardubice Jets took place on the 17th of April. This was followed by an inaugural domestic championship which was won by Praslavice-Olomouc. Following this, the Czech national team for the 2009 Euro Shield was selected, and Czech registered an historic first senior international Rugby League victory, defeating Germany in Olomouc, before going down to Italy on the away leg of the tournament.
In 2010 the Czech domestic Rugby League Championship was extended so that the season ran parallel with the major football codes in the country – football & rugby union. Despite this, the season was a success with Beroun Black Panthers – the core of the team being made up of young players who had been juniors in 2007 – running out winners ahead of Praslavice, Pardubice & Prague. Competing head-on with rugby union, however, drained the national team of the majority of players who had played in the team which defeated Germany in 2009, and a team of rookie rugby players suffered heavy defeats against Serbia & Germany during the 2010 Euro Shield.
2011 saw the emergence of 2 new Czech domestic teams – the Chruduim Angels & the Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels, the latter replacing Praslavice in the domestic championship. The season began in March, and was scheduled to finish in November. On the international scene, the Czech national team played against Hungary in the Euro Bowl, & the team of young Rugby League veterans – with an average age of 23 – scored a comprehensive victory away from home.
The Czech Rugby League Association is currently struggling to compete in the Czech sporting market with much more high profile sports who receive a level of government funding not available to it despite its impressively incremental recent growth relative to other sports because the Czech government refuses to accept Rugby League as an independent sport and labels it instead a ‘rebel rugby organisation’. Regardless, Rugby League in the Czech Republic continues to grow both in term of player participation & public interest, with junior development the cornerstone of this development.
As of 2011 CZRLA have around 100 registered senior players, all of them legitimate RL players, as opposed to paper players or union players just playing in a short summer comp. (The RL season runs parallel to the union season in Czech, & there have been no crossover players for the last 2 years). The CZRLA are currently working in schools with about 100 kids, & that is increasing semester by semester. The CZRLA hope to start playing junior & schools matches in 2012.
Dear Readers, If you have first hand knowledge of the current Rugby League situation in Czech Republic we would love to hear from you. Please email us at: [email protected] or join our international rugby league Forums at http://forums.rugbyleagueplanet.com and let us all know what’s going on in your part of the world.
CZECH REPUBLIC INTERNATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE RESULTS
2015 Rugby League Results
Apr 18th Belgium 52 v Czech Republic 12, Brussels
2014 Rugby League Results
Oct 11th Greece 68 v Czech Republic 16, Athens
Jul 12th Czech Republic 8 v Malta 34, Havlichkuv Brod
2013 Rugby League Results
Sep 29th Czech Republic 4 v Ukraine 68 (European Bowl)
Jul 13th Norway 26 v Czech Republic 14 (European Bowl)
Jun 29th Czech Republic 28 v Serbia (Under 20’s) 22
2012 Rugby League Results
Jul 14th Czech Republic 42 – Hungary 16 (European Bowl)
2011 Rugby League Results
Jul 23rd Hungary 16 – Czech Republic 38 (European Bowl)
2010 Rugby League Results
Jul 10th Czech Republic 16 – Catalonia 6
2009 Rugby League Results
Jul 11th Italy 38 – Czech Republic 8 (European Shield)
Jul 4th Czech Republic 30 – Germany 4 (European Shield)
Jun 20th Catalonia 52 – Czech Republic 10
2008 Rugby League Results
Aug 2nd Germany 62 – Czech Rep 20 (European Nations Shield)
Jul 12th Italy 38 – Czech Republic 18 (European Nations Shield)
2007 Rugby League Results
Aug 18th Serbia 56 Czech Republic 16 (Central Euro Develop Tri-Nations)
Aug 4th Germany 44 – Czech Republic 22 (Central Euro Develop Tri-Nations)
May 23rd British Police 68 – Czech Republic 10
2006 Rugby League Results
Aug 12th Serbia 38 – Czech Republic 26
Aug 4th Netherlands 34 – Czech Republic 28