The first of four planned rugby league festivals has been held in Münster, north-west Germany with over 40 participants playing in a mixture of 9s and a full 13-a-side match.
Münster, Karlshöfen and Westfalia, a mixed team based around Paderborn and Dortmund, were represented, with 10 German internationals in action.
The hosts were the winners of the 9s tournament, beating Karlshöfen 10-4 with Ingo Borgdorf claiming both tries, whilst against Westfalia they responded with 18 unanswered points to win 18-6; Westphalia downing Karlshöfen 22-10.
The Westfalia squad was split up for the 13s match and two evenly-matched teams formed named ‘Land’ based on the Münster team and mainly those from the same state and ‘Bund’ comprised predominantly Karlshöfen and the rest.
Land dominated the first half but Bund used the experience of former London Broncos player Eddie Briggs to exploit a flagging defence with a tremendous comeback spearheaded by Berliner David Ziekursch who scored a wonderful hat trick which saw Bund run out 22-16 winners.
“By having such a format it also gave us the opportunity to blood new match officials, especially as we used the two-ref system from Australia,” said RLEF Match Officials Educator Bob Doughton, who also took charge of the 13 a-side match. “We used six referees who are all in various stages of development in the 9s so each match had two impartial officials from the team that wasn’t playing.”
There are three more tournaments planned in Germany – July 2nd in Paderborn, July 16th in Gnarrenburg and July 23rd in Dortmund, as well as international matches in a triangular tournament against Belgium (August 6th in Dortmund) and Holland (August 13th in Rotterdam).
“We have seen a lot of new talent and it is our intention to select players for the internationals from the pool of players who participate in these domestic competitions,” said Simon Cooper, co-coach of the German national team.