Poland Tour 2012
GB Pioneers introduce Rugby League to Poland.
The Student Rugby League Great Britain & Ireland Pioneers have just returned from a history making tour of Poland which saw them play the first ever game of Rugby League in the country.
The purpose of the Pioneers is to help develop rugby league in new countries, this year the eighth tour saw the Pioneers spend 10 days based in Lodz in central Poland the home of Poland’s first ever Rugby League club the Lodz Magpies.
The GB Pioneers spent the time coaching the Magpies core rugby League skills, introducing them to example coaching and development sessions and delivering introducing Rugby League sessions to junior groups in Lodz as well as at summer camps in the Łagiewnicki Forest, the largest city forest in Europe.
On the Field the Pioneers played two games against the Lodz Magpies and a final game against Polska RL XIII, although the Pioneers won all three games without conceding and point the games were enjoyed by all and it was deemed the winner was Rugby League with massive improvements in the Polish players and increased interest in Rugby League in Lodz during and after the tour.
Speaking about the games Pioneers’ captain Liam Duffy said “They’ve put some good passes together. This is totally new for them. And it’s all about development”
The time in Poland also saw the Pioneers spend some time visiting local places of interest as well as a memorable trip to Auschwitz and Krakow.
GB Pioneer Louis Singleton commented “The trip to Auschwitz is one of the most moving things I have ever been a part of – what went on there is something I feel everybody should know about and I would certainly advise anyone to go visit”
Over all the Pioneers tour has been hailed a great success. With the players not only getting much valued instruction in the finer points of the sport but also being able to promote the game. By the third game, many more potential players were inquiring to Lukasz about playing and the crowds slowly grew.
Lukasz said “This tour has been so valuable for us. To see how players that have grown up with the sport approach and play it and to teach it to us has been fantastic. Our guys are so enthusiastic to continue with this now.”
GB Pioneers Tour Manager, Steve Curtis added “All the Pioneers players and staff have had a fantastic time in Poland, it is brilliant to see the Poles desire to learn and grow Rugby League, we have made some great friends here and hopefully given them some tools to spread Rugby League in Lodz and the rest of Poland”
The GB Pioneers would like to thank the Lodz Magpies for their hospitality and wish Polska Rugby League all the best with the growth of the sport we all love.
The GB Pioneers would also like to extend a huge thank you to all at Hot Chilli Sportswear who sponsored the tour and provided all of the GB Pioneers kit and training wear as well as providing some training kit for the Lodz Magpies and Polska RL XIII.