18 Feb 2011

The RLEF has announced that the 2011 European Shield will be played in July between competition regulars Germany and last year’s Bowl opponents, Norway and Malta.

"Malta are really looking forward to stepping up to the European Shield this summer and if there wasn't enough incentive already, a re-match against Norway and the opportunity to take on Germany on their own soil is a mouth watering prospect." said Knights’ captain, prop Daniel Grima.

All three nations impressed last year and, with a reorganisation of the European international calendar looming in 2012, are keen to perform well to maximise their standing and rankings.

Germany coach Dan Stocks is looking to add to his nation’s Shield success in 2006. “The opportunity to play against two really progressive countries is exciting for us. I am looking forward to working with this year’s squad as there is now some genuine competition for places.” 

Norway’s Erlend Granly Meldalen, skipper of the Aker Seagulls, confirmed that his side are happy with the underdog tag but that after their spirited display in Malta last June neither of their opponents will be taking them lightly. “The two weeks of matches will be an experience for us. No one expects us to win against Germany and Malta but I promise they won’t have it easy against us.”

His anticipation is echoed by veteran Grima. "Norway gave us a strong battle for an hour last time out. We now have an additional twelve months of experience and the Shield encounter will definitely create more spark and passion between the two teams. Malta and Germany have quite a history and I can see that this will be a great occasion and game of rugby league.

From 2012 the Shield will become a four-team biennial championship, with Italy, Russia and Serbia already pencilled in but the fourth spot undecided. Teams will play six matches over two years, with the fourth-placed team in danger of dropping down to the Bowl.

The format will potentially include a 2017 world cup qualification element.


1st July - Malta v Norway, Hamrun

9th July - Norway v Germany, Oslo

23th July - Germany v Malta, Hochspeyer