The Scandinavian region has recently finalised their 2014 rugby league commitments and are preparing for the most exciting year to date. March 8 was the date of the first running of rugby league this season, with a rugby league sevens pre-season hosted by the Flekkefjord Tigers.
The inaugural Tigers Rugby League Sevens saw two Rugby League Norge teams take on two rugby union teams in a rugby league sevens tournament. The Tigers hosted fellow RLN team Porsgrunn Pirates, as well as trialling rugby union teams Stavanger Thunder and Egersund Panthers.
Although the competition remained close, the eventual winners of the inaugural contest were Stavanger Thunder. RLN chairman, Kim André Seglem was happy with the maiden pre-season competition. Seglem is looking forward to introducing more people to rugby league, praising the rugby union teams Stavanger and Egersund’s involvement in trialling rugby league.
“We had eight games of rugby league sevens played today, which is great to have in such a small community. Each team gave it their all and we would like to congratulate Stavanger in their victory.
“It was fantastic to see new people taking interest and involvement in rugby league, with two new teams participating in rugby league in a trial capacity. We are looking forward to continue growing this great game here in Norway.”
A pre-season Scandinavian Sevens in Kungsbacka, Sweden is due for kick-off on March 22. Six teams will compete in the rugby league Sevens tournament to be hosted by the Kungsbacka Broncos. Swedish rugby union teams Spartacus Reds and Göteborg have been invited to join domestic teams Kungsbacka Broncos and Skåne Crusaders.
The Copenhagen ‘Black Swans’ and Oslo Capitals round out the remaining Sevens participants. The Skåne Crusaders will be looking to defend their title, after defeating the Copenhagen ‘Black Swans’ in a hard-fought 12-6 victory in 2013.
The Skåne Crusaders will also be looking for consecutive titles in 2014’s Pan-Scandinavian Championship. Kicking-off March 29, the Championship will see teams from Denmark and Sweden go head-to-head with Copenhagen, Kungsbacka, and Skåne all looking for premiership glory.
Crusaders manager, Paul Briggs said he cannot wait for the rugby league season to begin and is very excited to see the Crusaders defending their title.
“We took out the double last year in some great form with the boys coming together with some real guts, running undefeated all year.
“This year we have some new recruits to strengthen our stock and I am confident they can get the job done. Hopefully we can continue our undefeated form and attempt to take out the double again.”
The Rugby League Norge National Championship is set to begin on April 5, with five Norwegian teams participating in this season’s competition. Three-time champions Oslo Capitals will be looking to continue their dominating form in 2014. They will be joined by the Porsgrunn Pirates, Flekkefjord Tigers, Kristiansand Krusaders, and Flisbyen Broncos as each team searches for their maiden title.
Denmark too is looking to continue building the foundations of rugby league. Steven Davy, the Chairman of the Danish rugby league board is looking forward to finalising the two-game Danish domestic challenge between Copenhagen and Jylland.
“We have a great line up of games this year, domestically and internationally. The East West Origin games in Denmark are becoming a tradition.”
“We are also proud to Jesper Ika, who has now joined a top UK amateur club, Leigh East. He is still only eighteen and we have confidence he will soon be playing in the big leagues”
The highly contested Nordic Cup will commence after all the domestic competitions conclude, with each nation having won the Cup once each since its inception. The opener of the tri-series competition will see Norway to host Denmark on June 28 in Flekkefjord. Denmark will then host Sweden on August 16 in Copenhagen, before Sweden return to Lund to host Norway on August 28.
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