The Netherlands Rugby League Bond domestic season is set to return on 4 June for the first time since 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic disruptions. The league will be rebranded to the 1895 Sports Championship and will feature five clubs for the first time with the addition of Zwolle Wolves alongside Amsterdam Cobras, Den Haag Knights, Rotterdam Pitbulls and Harderwijk Dolphins.
Round 1 kicks off with a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final, the defending champion Knights hosting Cobras at Haagsche RC and will also feature the newest venue in Overijssel’s capital as the Wolves play in their first competitive match against local rivals the Dolphins.
The Pitbulls get their season underway in Round 2 when they host a Friday Night Lights match against the Knights in what is always a fiercely fought contest between the Zuid Holland rivals, the regular season finishing on Saturday 16 July.
In a year of firsts, the league will also inaugurate a playoff structure for the Jason Bruygoms trophy, one of the development driving forces behind the sport in the nation, with the league leaders guaranteed a place in the Grand Final.
NRLB operations manager, Matt Rigby, commented, “This is a very important season for Dutch Rugby League. We have waited almost three years to be able to bring the competitive domestic rugby league back to our clubs, are ready to entertain and are in discussions to have most of the matches live-streamed. All of this is building towards the 2025 World Cup qualifiers.”
Laury Renac, head coach of Zwolle Wolves added: “We are ready and very excited to take part in the competition for the first time. Thanks to the series of friendlies organised by the NRLB, we did take to the field but only in a 9s format. The boys are up for it, we have a pretty young group of players who are keen to make an impression. One of our key forwards is Dutch International Paul Kuijpers who may be joined alongside his three brothers.”
A full fixtures list can be found here: http://rugbyleague.nl/2022-fixtures/