Poland Rugby League
Rugby League in Poland has existed for a little over two years, in a short period of time a dedicated workforce of volunteers are making serious strides introducing a sport to a Nation which have little or knowledge of the 13 a side game.
In 2011 whilst searching on the internet for a sport or activity that he could introduce to the city of Lodz to keep the youth off the streets , Lukasz Lukca – Poland Rugby League Chairman discovered a clip of NRL on Youtube. Lukasz was instantly impressed with the high intensity and level skill on display and knew that he had found the sport he was searching for. Lukasz, who had no knowledge or experience of the game set about establishing a club in the city which later became the Lodz Magpies.
In 2012 Lukasz organised for the Great Britain Pioneers; a select group of students studying at different universities across Great Britain, to visit Lodz and help them develop the sport.
In July 2012 the Pioneers travelled to Lodz and spent a week delivering coaching sessions and helping the players understand Rugby League. The Pioneers played a two game series against the Lodz Magpies and a third game against a Poland Rugby League selection.
Since the Pioneers left in July 2012 the Polish players have been training every week, practicing skills and drills which have been adapted from old coaching books and video clips from the internet. During winter in Poland temperatures can drop to less than minus 20 so the team had to move inside to a small sports hall in a local school.
However with the lack of any domestic competition and with only one club currently established in Poland it is tough for the Lodz magpies to organise games. The majority of the players are around 18 years of age and most of the team do not earn enough money to pay for transport and accommodation to local European countries to organise fixtures.
The players are now desperate to play another game, Lukasz commented ‘’ it is very important for the future of Rugby League in Poland that we arrange a fixture very soon. The players are getting frustrated with training and not playing any games, we cannot continue to develop without games’’.
With financial support we can start to build the profile of the sport in Poland. This year we are looking to organise two fixtures with either Hungary or Czech Republic, ideally we need to host a game in Poland and use it as a PR opportunity. Poland Rugby League are currently waiting for the Government to sign off the Polish XIII association which will mean they are official recognised by government, this will really support the development of the sport moving forward.
Lukasz and his team of volunteers in Lodz are currently delivering a number of rugby League coaching sessions in local schools. It is Lukasz ambition to create and accessible opportunity for the youth to engage in sport and keep them off the streets. In September Lukasz hopes to host a Schools Festival which will see the first ever games of Schools Rugby League being played in Poland.
The game has a very bright future in Poland but with lack of finances it is proving a challenge to organise games which in turn means it is a challenge to attract commercial sponsors and government support.
Your support for the development of Rugby League in Poland is hugely appreciated and will make a real difference to people’s lives.