By Matthew Brown, Date: 18/12/14
Poland is a country located in central Europe with a population of over 40 million people. It is a country with a very rich history dating back to the early 11th century. For over 1000 years, Poland has had very difficult, but also very historical moments in its history. Today it is one of the strongest economies in the EU with plenty of historical places, booming businesses and strong sporting teams. I got in touch with one Polish man (Lukasz Lucka) who is attempting to add something different to the Polish sporting landscape, Rugby League.
Lukasz is a native Lodz resident who, back in 2011, wanted to help introduce a sport to unprivileged kids to keep them off the streets. One day while surfing the internet he game across the game of Rugby League. After a few videos and live streams of the sport, he knew this was the one! He searched around the internet to see if there was any Rugby League activity in Poland, the only thing he found was a gentleman by the name of Dan Andruczyk (an Australian of Polish decent) looking to start the game in Poland as well. After this, the two got in contact with one another and within a few weeks Poland’s first Rugby League club (The Lodz Magpies) were formed.
Still to this day there is only 1 club in Poland, however, Lukasz and the Magpies have had close to 200 players train with them over the last 3 years. They have also been presented the game to students at local schools in various forms. The Poles have also hosted the British Pioneers for a 3 match tour and participated in various 9s tournament throughout Europe.
In the last few months, Lukasz and his fellow pioneers have worked hard to establish new clubs in towns surrounding Lodz to expand the current numbers of regular Rugby League players.
For 2015, it is hoped that a local competition can be created in Poland. There are aims to have at least 2-3 clubs playing in a Polish Rugby League competition to help crown the first domestic champion. There are also plans to become Observer Status members of the RLEF and play official international games against other European countries. Euro Touch and Tag competitions are also being proposed for schools and different groups to help increase the general Rugby League participation in Poland. Their main goal is to have as many people become involved in Rugby League in Poland, or, become fans of the sport, well into the future.
To find out more information about Polish Rugby League, visit the following Facebook links;
https://www.facebook.com/PRXIII (Polish Rugby League).
https://www.facebook.com/lodzmagpies/timeline (Lodz Magpies Rugby League).