Poland hosted a festival of rugby league at the weekend, when teams from Ireland and Hungary joined local sides in a Nines tournament and EuroTag event.
EuroTag is the reduced contact form of rugby league which offers a less strenuous route into the game.
Four Polish teams, from Lodz, Brzeziny, Skierniewice and Tomaszow, competed alongside an Hungarian team from Budapest, and an Rugby League Ireland team.
The Budapest team triumphed in the Nines tournament, beating the Lodz (pronounced ‘Wudj’) Magpies in the final.
The Ireland team won the EuroTag event, beating the Hungarians in the final. Ireland included former Oldham centre Des Foy, the RLI director, who played for Great Britain during his professional career, and has also represented Ireland.
Michael Hay of the Hungarian Rugby League Federation felt that the event was a great success.
“The Lodz trip was definitely a successful day for Budapest Rugby League, only losing one game,” he said.
“It was just unfortunate that it was in the Eurotag final!
“The Eurotag tournament was a great introduction for our younger players. We had five beginners in our group of 12.
“The loss to Ireland was disappointing but we made up for it in the 9s. The 9s was played with a great spirit even in the heavy rain!
“The team was very happy to win our second Nines tournament for the year. It made the long drive home a little easier.
“Tournaments like this is Lodz are important for us to measure or progress against other developing nations.”
Zsolt Lukacs, the President of the HRLF, was also pleased with how the Budapest team had performed, and highlighted how EuroTag had helped convert him from a one-dimensional rugby union forward.
“I was a rugby union forward, and all I used to do was run straight into opponents, playing EuroTag has made me aware that there is more to Rugby League than that,” he said.
The festival was organised by Polska XIII president Luckasz Lucka, another who was very pleased with how the event went.
“The experience that the festival gave to our players should help us to build the game here in Poland,” he said.
“Our players really enjoyed the tournament, and I am sure they learned a lot from the way the Irish and Hungarian teams played.
“The more events like this we can have, the quicker we will develop and the more interest and support we will get from within Poland.
“I would like to thank everyone involved for making it a success and I look forward to more international RL taking place in Lodz in the future.”