By Phil Caplan, Date: 12/4/14
Four international games have been announced as Test match rugby league comes to Western Europe over the next couple of months.
The Nassau Trophy sees Belgium and Spain play home and away; the Orange Cup pits the low countries against each other as Belgium take on Holland and the Dutch kick off the series when they host Germany, in what will be the farewell game for Deutschland coach Dan Stocks, for the Griffin Cup.
Belgium Rugby League Association president Yves-Michael Kazadi commented: “These games will be played with passion. We all know the historical rivalry between the countries. I am happy for the fans, they will certainly see what rugby league is all about and enjoy it.
“But clearly, as president, my personal focus will be on improvement of the association and its quality at all levels in order to attract more clubs and participants.”
Netherlands RLB Development Director Jason Bruygoms is excited by the prospect. “We would like to make these games annual fixtures, we think it is only wise to help support each other as neighbours. There is a huge opportunity to see this collaboration grow into a strong international competition in the region. Together we can grow stronger.”
For Spanish coach Darren Fisher, the games are a measure of progress. “Rugby league in Spain is undoubtedly making great strides as we look to our first international games,” he said. “The fixtures are a fantastic achievement for all involved in the rugby league project in Spain and the first stepping stone to where we want to be.”
“Awareness of rugby league is spreading fast. The internationals will be a fantastic opportunity for the public to come and see the a game and more importantly support their country.”
Asociacion Espanol Rugby League General Secretary Aitor Davila added: “Our first match against Belgium will be an historical moment, not only for the Spanish RL and its objectives but also for Spanish sport.”
WESTERN EUROPE TEST FIXTURES
Netherlands v Germany, venue TBA, 2 May
Belgium v Spain, Centre Sportif de Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, 24 May
Spain v Belgium, Campo de Rugby la Pelosa, Valencia, 8 June
Belgium v Netherlands, Centre Sportif de Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, 28 June