Where did the inspiration come from to bring rugby league to Estonia?
After ten years of Union with little progress in numbers or support from the governing bodies and with new players finding the game to difficult to pick up, and watching players leave after spending months on line/outs, rucks, mauls, etc it was time to find another way of getting rugby installed into schools.
Who was involved in the setting up of your organisation, and who helped from the outside?
The Estonian rugby federation was set up for both Union and League so there is no conflict of interest from the management team. We contacted the RL who past us onto Kevin Rudd who came out with the Great Britain university side,took part in a level 2 coaching course at the same time.
Was there any opposition to it?
Culture issues should be factored into the equation with Estonians/Russians having nothing in common and not able to even find any common ground to even start at.
Has there been a great deal of interest in rugby league from the people of Estonia?
All the schools we work in find that the children pick up RL far more easily than union so for us time wise coaching takes far less time and those who drop out means we have invested less time.
What are your plans and aims for 2007?
2007 needs to include at least 2/3 international games, preferably home because the playing base are students/army low income earners.At least a 9s tournament in August to keep the players motivated.Several teams have indicated they would tour and if it happens, again this would be a bonus for all concerned.
How far do you think you can go in the near future?
The near future is just to get more schools involved, any senior player that comes along now will stay perhaps 1-2 years max.Estonians have no commitment concepts and again more young people leave Estonia every day which means it will get even harder to field even one good quality side.
Where do you see rugby league in Estonia in twenty years time?
In 20 years time there will so few people in Estonia that getting a 9s side will be impossible.