By Andy Mulhall, Date:11/7/13
The CZRLA International 9s was the final event of the first half of the Czech Rugby League season before the national team takes on Norway in Oslo in Game 2 of the 2013 European Bowl, and the 1st and 2nd Divisions Championships take a break over the summer holiday season.
The CZRLA International 9s was played in Pardubice for the third consecutive season, and has become an integral part of the domestic program. This season the 9s was played on the weekend between the national team playing a European Bowl warm-up game against the Serbian under 20s and the first of their two 2013 European Bowl games against Norway in Oslo. This meant that national team players were unable to participate and so the two Czech teams who competed in the 9s against the Belgrade Select and Hungarian national team were composite sides – one representing Pardubice, Chrudim and Mikulov, and the other Hradec Kralove and Vrchlabi. The Serbian team won the event – being the third international team to do so, after Lebanon National University were victorious in 2011 and BARLA in 2012 – with the Hungarians finishing second, but the two Czech teams battled gamely and put in strong efforts against their more experienced opponents.
Going into the summer break Lokomotiva Beroun remain undefeated in the Czech 1st Division Championship, as are Chrudim Angels in the second, albeit with one draw against Hradec Kralove recorded. Vrchlabi, with only one loss – against Beroun – are second in the First Division, followed by Mikulov Roosters, Teplice Dragons and Orli Havlickuv Brod. Mikulov & Havlicjkuv Brod have a game in hand with the Roosters first round home match having been postponed due to snow early in the season. The second half of the 1st Division home & away season begins again in August, while the second half of the 2nd Division Championship kicks-off in September. Both grand finals will be played at the home of the 1st Division Minor Premiers on October 19, a week before the commencement of the Rugby League World Cup.
The Czech national rugby league team plays Norway this weekend in Oslo. This is the first match of the 2013 European Bowl for the former, and the second for the latter, after Norway were defeated playing away against Ukraine last weekend. The final match of the competition will see the Czech Republic host Ukraine in Vrchlabi on September 28. By that stage the Czech domestic season will be two-thirds completed and heading into the final rounds of the extended 2013 season.
Photo’s by Milan Hospodka