I've just received confirmation that the RLWC European qualification match at Leigh Sports Village on 5th November has been rescheduled to Friday 4th to avoid a clash with the 4 Nations fixtures in Coventry, which means it will be possible to make it to all 3 matches now
Preparations for the England v New Zealand test series commenced in very different ways, with New Zealand facing a much tougher battle in their 34-12 victory over Leeds Rhinos than England had to in their 84-4 win over a weakened France team.
With France facing England, Wales played against Keighley Cougars in the Danny Jones Memorial match, with a 36-20 win, while the European Championships continued in their absence with Ireland just edging Scotland 24-22.
World Cup qualification began for the MEA region, with the first of 2 matches between South Africa and Lebanon taking place and seeing Lebanon win 40-12, leaving South Africa needing to win the return fixture next weekend by 29 points or more.
In site news, a few more match reports have been added and there is now a link to the full replay of the France v Ireland match on the main page
It's been a very busy weekend for international fixtures, with 7 fixtures being played as well as the Latin 7s (which I'll discuss in a later post)
It started off on Thursday (stretching the definition of weekend slightly) with Thailand seeing off Japan 30-6 bringing the Asian Cup to one win apiece, but Japan winning on aggregate 58-46
Friday saw the European Championship A tournament kick off with Wales coming out 18-12 winners over Scotland, but France's 31-14 victory over Ireland the following day sees France move to the top of the group.
Elsewhere in Europe, Norway came back with a vengeance in the last 20 minutes of their Nordic Cup game against Sweden, losing 10-20 but scoring 4 tries at the end to run out 30-20 victors putting them second behind Denmark in the Cup.
Tonga will start their preparations next year for the 2017 World Cup after defeating Cook Islands 28-8, and Spain will progress to the next phase of World Cup qualification, with 2 victories in European Championship C after running riot of Greece, coming out 76-4 victors.
Canada take an 8 point lead into today's Colonial Cup match against the USA, and a win for either team will put them in good stead for World Cup qualification this December
Apologies for not being the quickest with the updates recently, but I'm up to date on all the results now (and even have tomorrow's result listed!
There have been wins for Russia and Serbia against Italy and Ukraine respectively in European Championship B, while Spain managed to defeat Malta 40-30 in European Championship C. Greece's inability to travel tomorrow has granted Malta a 30-0 win, meaning that Spain will need to defeat Greece next weekend to earn a place in next year's RLWC qualifiers
There have been a fair few upsets with Canada defeating USA 36-28 in the first leg of the Colonial Cup, while Niue beat Cook Islands and Czech Republic recorded their second ever win, overturning Belgium 14-4. In the unofficial (non-test) matches, Spain beat Italy B and Papua New Guinea fell to Australia's PMXIII.
I now have listed match reports for most of the matches, and there are full replays of USA v Canada and Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland (thanks to Steve from NIRL for the latter)
There's nothing like a last minute change of date and venue for a match, but the Colonial Cup fixtures between USA and Canada have been changed, with them both being moved a day later to the Sundays (20/09 and 18/10). The venue for both has been set as the AA Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, PA (the September match originally scheduled to be played in Toronto.
This leaves Canada without a home international this year (barring the England Lionhearts visit), which is a shame considering the attendances that they have been attracting.
Thailand v Japan in Bangkok has also been rescheduled, moving from the 17th to the 15th of October.
And congratulations to Ireland after their 34-22 win over Malta, which now means that not only are they the country playing the most fixtures this year, they also have won every game in the build up to the European Championships in October.
“The Serbian Rugby League Federation deeply regrets the incident during Saturday’s match against Ireland that was caused by Serbia’s national team coach. After the unfortunately abandoned game, the SRLF Board held several urgent meetings assessing the situation. The main conclusion is that SRLF has accepted the immediate resignation of national team coach (Marko Janković), who is also suspended indefinitely from all positions in SRLF pending disciplinary procedure from the RLEF. He is also obligated to pay a €1000 fine that will be used for youth development, promoting fair play and also for a program against violence in sport.
Furthermore, SRLF wants to distance its self in all possible ways from an individual act which is contrary the true spirit of rugby league. We are committed to taking all measures to prevent similar behavior of individuals in the future. As before this unfortunate incident, SRLF is determined to promote the good game of rugby league and its main values: fair play, sportsmanship, hard work, and respect. SRLF reassures the rugby league public that this was an isolated incident and that in future Serbian rugby league will be mentioned only in the context of its good results and further development of the sport in region.
Even though this situation is a heavy blow to our organization, as a leader of rugby league in this part of the Continent; SRLF has an obligation to turn its attention to the upcoming crucial European Championship B game against Ukraine.”
The recent 2 match series between Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland has seen the ROI come away with a 96-44 aggregate win (second match is available to watch online - link on main page). It's been a quiet month for international RL, with the next fixture this month also featuring Ireland as they travel to Serbia on the 29th which will be live-streamed (again, link on the main page)
New listings have just gone up for PNG's annual fixture against the Australia PM XIII in September, as well as the rescheduled match between Spain and Italy in Alicante the week before.
Another instance of rugby league and geopolitics colliding is in Ireland. The governing body covers Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland as one national team, despite officially being two different countries.
The two do play each other, with their Origin series approaching early next month. As such, I've decided to list both the fixtures in a similar way to the Latin Heat matches. Italicised to indicate that they are not full test internationals.
I now have a confirmed streaming link for Czech v Sweden this weekend and an unconfirmed streaming link for Serbia v Ireland next month (all of Serbia's matches have been streamed on the same site.
Speaking of Ireland, there is also a link now up to their 38-0 win over the Belgians. Ireland seem to be the most active nation this year with 6 matches scheduled, including the European Championship A which has now also been added
The Nordic Cup has been decided, with Denmark winning both of their matches to retain the title, having won 3 of the 5 competitions.
There are 3 matches being played this weekend, with Germany hosting The Netherlands in a friendly on Saturday, and Serbia will travel to Italy for the next match in European Championship B as the road to RLWC2017 continues. Serbia are currently leading the table on 6 points, although Italy have a game in hand, and could take the lead with a win by more than 50 points.
Sunday sees Belgium and Malta face off before the Leeds Rhinos v Hull FC match at Headingley Stadium in a match that I'm particularly looking forward to as I shall be there myself!
And finally, in a bit of housekeeping, I've corrected the date for the Ireland v Belgium match (the original press release did list it as Sunday 13th July. I should have noticed that that is actually a Monday!). There is also now a full match replay of the Spain v Germany match a couple of weeks ago.
A Yorkshireman in the south of England who can't get enough of the world of rugby league