After 18 months of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic, Netherlands Rugby League has made plans for a return to action.
A three week 9s tournament, beginning on 26 June has been planned, with a Grand Final featuring the top two sides. The five existing clubs – Amsterdam Cobras, Den Haag Knights, Harderwijk Dolphins, Rotterdam Pitbulls and Zwolle Wolves – will be joined by newcomers Dordrecht Griffins, who will host the first round of round-robin festival matches.
“We are looking to the tournament to re-engage the rugby league community here,” said NRLB competitions manager Matt Rigby. “Everyone has been patiently waiting to get going again and this activity will enable the players to safely increase their fitness levels ahead of the international season.
“It is encouraging to be able to formally welcome Dordrecht Griffins, there has been interest in the city for a while and this format is ideal as a stepping stone and for them and to raise the profile of the sport there. The plan for the fully revised domestic league in 2022 is to play it over 11 weeks, which would be the longest in Dutch history.”
Rigby added: “We are hoping to be able to stage a four game representative calendar this year including a match between Dutch players and Exiles, the traditional Griffin Cup clash with Germany and participation in the Euro D championship. Plus we’re really hoping that our international with Sweden, scheduled for Hull Kingston Rovers’ Hull College Craven Park Stadium, which has been delayed for two years because of Covid-19 will now be able to go ahead next year.”
“We are also looking to host our annual match official and coaching courses, and also in the pipeline is a Dutch RL documentary and brand new website.”