With 2020 having been lost to competition because of the enforced shutdown in the country, the Turkey Rugby League Association has announced its calendar for this year, subject to resumption of play post Covid-19.
TRLA president, Gurol Yildiz, said: “Despite not getting on the field last year, we still continued to grow the sport with online refereeing courses and team development projects. One of our biggest successes in 2020 was being able to broadcast Australian NRL matches in Turkish on TRTSPOR, the official government broadcaster, which provided amazing exposure for rugby league.
“We intend to build on that this year, beginning with the re-instatement of the annual international beach tournament, the fifth time it has been played, scheduled for early August in Kalamis, Istanbul. In 2019 we welcomed 25 men’s and women’s teams, including from Serbia, Lebanon and Iran. It was great fun and enjoyed by all.”
Yildiz also confirmed: “After that, in early September we will launch a men’s, women’s and U18s 9s tournament, which will be the ignition for 2021 season! Later that month, the 13-a-side championship seasons will start for the three groups. In 2019, Ankara Phrygians were the men’s champions for the first time and Izmir Bati Gucu took the women’s title for the second year running. Kadikoy Bulls were undefeated to take the U18s crown in what was a thrilling competition.”
Three men’s players will also be given the opportunity to join sides in the Serbian domestic league to give then greater experience, whilst a men’s international is being planned with Albania. Turkey are also scheduled to play in Euro D, if it can go ahead, facing the Netherlands, Malta and Czech Republic.
“We also want to build on one of our absolute highlights from 2019,” Yildoz added. “Our U18 Buffaloes team traveled to Serbia to play against Partizan Juniors, with a team comprised solely from the Child Protection Agency in Istanbul, scoring two amazing tries. The players showed great excitement and joy to be involved and it was a very proud and emotional day for the TRLA. We are hoping to come out of this pandemic situation unscathed and have a successful 2021.”
This is the year of the Rugby League World Cup 2021
The Rugby League World Cup is taking place between the 23 October – 27 November this autumn and is the pinnacle of international Rugby League, globally contested every four years. RLWC2021 will be a breakthrough moment in the tournament’s history with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time.
The three tournaments will take place in 21 venues across 18 host towns and cities in England. Both the women’s and wheelchair competitions will be contested by two groups of four teams, whilst the men’s tournament will see 16 teams compete across four groups.
RLWC2021 will be the most visible Rugby League event in history with all 61 games in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being broadcast live on the BBC.
Mission: Delivering the biggest and best ever Rugby League World Cup.
Vision: Creating inspirational moments that excite, engage and leave a long-lasting positive social impact.