Lebanon’s Collegiate Rugby League Championship (CRL) returns after an extended break due to the pandemic and domestic issues within the nation. The last CRL game was played on 28 February 2020, and the 2023 Championship will kick-off today (Thursday) at 6pm with a repeat of the single CRL 2020 match, between American University of Beirut (AUB) and University of Balamand (UOB) .
The 2023 Championship will consist of two round-robins and a Grand Final, in addition to a CRL 9s circuit of two rounds. The competing varsity teams include AUB, UOB, Notre Dame University and Louaize (NDU), while Beirut Arab University will also participate in the 9s.
“We are so excited to resume CRL activities and are looking forward to an exciting championship where all teams are on the same level,” Lebanon RL Federation CEO Nayef Abi Said noted. “We hoped to have more participating universities but due to the ongoing domestic socio-economic crisis, some universities opted to resume rugby league activities next year. The CRL is the oldest competition and the backbone of our championship operations and with it resuming we will be able to increase our pool of players as it was before the pandemic and more.”
UOB captain, Elie Gerges, said: “We have been training regularly two to three times per week and also played a few friendlies this year to prepare for this season and have a good run. We feel the pressure of wearing the UOB jersey, but we feel confident that we will go all the way and keep the trophy in the North.”
“As we finally embark on this long awaited journey, our team is fully focused and hungry to show their improvement,” commented AUB skipper, Jhonny Fawaz. “Rugby league is not just a physical sport but a mental one and we are ready and want to prove to everyone that we are capable of bringing the trophy back to AUB.”
All games will be streamed on the LRLF Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LebanonRL