English Sources

Moscow Match Cancelled

Source: RLEF * Monday 19 June 2006


The final European Preliminary Group World Cup Qualifying match between the top two teams Russia and Georgia - due to be played in Moscow on Thursday 22nd June - has been cancelled due to the Georgian team experiencing visa and travel issues

The details of these circumstances will now be fully investigated by the Rugby League European Federation before further details or comment can be released

Speaking on behalf of the RLEF, European Development Officer Kevin Rudd said: "We are disappointed this fixture will not now go ahead as planned. A full review of the circumstances leading up to the cancellation will now go ahead.”

Georgia Suprise Package

Source: TRL Fans Forum
by Yanto * Posted: May 29 2006, 10:27 AM

Having just returned from an awesome experience in Tbilissi I can assure everyone that Georgia could be a suprise package in this World Cup

With a superb home support of very noisy and passionate supporters their home games in the next stage of the WC will be a test for any team

11,000 watched us on friday (official crowd but I reckon their was possibly 15,000 in the stadium as a lot seemed to come in late) and boy, do they make a noise!

Players ten meters from the touchline could not hear instructions, the referee at times found that the players could not even hear his whistle

I have been involved in league (including ten years in the top flight in England) for 30 years and never witnessed such an atmosphere. It was a most memorable evening

On the field the Georgian side are improving faster than any other European development nation. They are big, fast, solid and have some great ball skills

Having met Russia and Georgia over the last month I feel that Georgia can go to Moscow and win. Its one game I wish I could attend because it will a hell of a battle

After a very competative first half the home side just blew the Dutch away in the second period with power and pace

Whoever has to travel to Tbilissi in the next stages are in for one mighty test and will experience a welcome of pride passion and most of all friendship. The people of Tbilissi are so friendly it is unbelievable and the welcome and hospitality is one that will be hard to beat anywhere in the world.

That is until you step out onto the Lokomotivi Tbilissi pitch....

Hoping to get some photos up in the next few days. Due to my camera being broken I am waiting for other players to send me their pics

Impressive Georgia outrun Dutch

Source: RLEF * Saturday 27 May 2006


Georgia  57-16  Holland

Georgia displayed striking Rugby skills in the burning atmosphere of the Vake [Locomotivi] Stadium, Tbilissi with a comprehensive ten try victory over combative Dutch on Independence Day, May 26th

A crowd of 10,935 (sic) frantic fans braved the unbelievable heat of the Georgian sun, and it is believed that this figure could be higher since more fans got into the “Gladiator” style arena after the kick off

The Dutch set the tone of what was to be a rather ferocious contest braving the famous Georgian Haka "Perkhuli". Facing tough defense from both teams in the opening minutes, only the forwards could express their talents, noticeably through Kiwi born prop Bev Williamson for the Dutch side and David Gasviani for the locals

Georgia opened the score with a drop kick from stand off Merab Kvirikashvili. The Dutch responded immediately with a penalty kick from Huddersfield Underbank Rangers Aaron de Jager

It was Georgia’s George Assatiani who found the way first and then the sparkling locals began to break the Dutch defense, converting every opportunity with three well taken tries by Revaz Guigauri, Lexo Gugava and Merab Kvirikashvili. The Dutch managed to reduce the score to 23-10 just before half-time through NZ born Duncan Taylor

The contest resumed as fierce as it was in the first half but it only took ten minutes for the Georgians to open their festival of tries. Prop Tornike Ashvetia powered through the Netherlands defense followed by second row Nika Mkheidze. Winger Zviad Koberidze outpaced his Dutch opponent and hooker Beka Qurashvili scored between posts, while Ducan Taylor followed a high kick from de Jager to reduce the score

The Georgians completed their outstanding performance with three well constructed tries by Zviad Koberidze, second row Shalva Sutiashvili and 36-year-old captain Kakhaber Kobakhidze, in a constant frenzy from the local crowd

“I am absolutely impressed with the quality of Rugby skills displayed today by the Georgians” said delighted RFL Coach Advisor Vincent Webb, “I believe many of them could make some professional teams in UK very happy” he added

“The Standard of the Georgian Organisation was simply outstanding” said equally impressed RLEF Match commissioner Benjamin Araud. “The quality of match officials provided to assist Andrew Smith was very good, and to see such an enthusiastic and numerous crowd is unbelievable. The potential for Rugby League development is immense in Georgia”

After the match Tsameti Kartveli (Thirteen Georgians) received an exceptional ovation in front of several tens of thousands people massed in the streets of the Georgian Capital when they went on the stage set up for the National Celebrations in Freedom Square

GEORGIA: 1 George Assatiani Vice Capt (Locomotivi 5 Caps: 1 Try), 2 Lexo Gugava (Locomotivi 3: 3T), 3 Revaz Guigauri (Locomotivi 2), 4 Sandro Guilauri (Locomotivi 5: 3T), 5 Zviad Koberidze (Qochebi 4: 1T); 6 Merab Kvirikashvili (Lelo 1: 3 Tries 6 Goals 1 Field Goal), 7 George Sordia (Aia 1) /

8 Tornike Ashvetia (Aia 1), 9 Beka Qurashvili (Raindebi 3), 10 Davis Gasviani (Locomotivi 3: 1T); 11 Nicholas Mkheidze (Locomotivi 4: 1T), 12 Shalva Sutiashvili (Locomotivi 1), 13 Kakha Kobakhidze Capt (Raindebi 4: 9G);

Interchange: 14 Grigol Nishnianidze (Locomotivi 1), 15 George Nemsadze (Aia 1: 1T), 16 Irakli Natriashvili (Kharebi 0), 17 Manuchar Namchevadze (Aia 1)

Coach Kakha Alania (Raindebi 2)

* 10T: Assatiani, Guigauri, Gugava, Kvirikashvili, Ashvetia, Sutiashvili, Z Koberidze two (7 9), Qurashvili, Kobakhidze; 8G, FG: Kvirikashvili

HOLLAND: 1 Kees Foxon, 2 Roelof Haar, 3 Duncan Taylor, 4 Ronald van den Broek, 5 Jamie Groeneweg; 6 Aaron De Jager Capt, 7 Benjamin Blom /

8 Phil Parkinson, 9 Chris Hodgetts, 10 Bevan Williamson; 11 Raymond den Engelsman, 12 Bernard van Holstein, 13 Alex Hoogenzand;

Interchange: 14 Vincent Grimbergen, 15 Johnny Qua, 16 Sjoerd Nieboer, 17 Jason Bruygoms

Coach Ian Thompson

* 2T: Taylor two; 4G: de Jager

Ref: Andrew Smith (England); Touch Judges: Ucha Narimanidze & Michael Chachua; Interchange supervisor: Levan Jashi (Georgia)

1-0(3') 1-2(7) 7-2(9) 7-4(14) 13-4(18) 19-4(25) 23-4(34) 23-10(40) HT / 23-12(41) 29-12(51) 33-12(59) 39-12(61) 45-12(64) 45-16(70) 51-16(78) 57-16(80) FT

TD Sport and Travel Men of the Match: Revaz Guigauri & Bev Williamson

, 26 May. Tbilissi, Vake [around 15 thousand]. KO 19.00 GeoT = 17.00 CET

Serbia 10-45 Georgia

Source: RLEF * Sunday 14 May 2006
Photo secured by Milosh Shakan, SRL Press Officer


Georgia Rugby League has a new hero as Merab Kvirikashvili grabbed three tries and six goals for a 24 point haul in a hugely entertaining encounter in gloriously sunny Belgrade. The classy stand off was at the heart of his side's best work in a match in which the visitor's superior strength and pace was a decisive factor over a gusty Serbian outfit The final score line did not reflect the amount of possession the Serbs enjoyed but highlighted the better strike power of the Georgian attack

The Georgians only failed to score in the opening set of the match when a poor final pass went to ground but that was only temporary respite as Kvirikashvili began his solo demolition with a try on the blind side from close in. He added the conversion and five minutes later extended the lead by a point with a field goal on a last tackle play

For the next 20 minutes the Georgians found themselves under pressure from the well marshalled hosts, with Jovan Vujosevic and Halifax's Luka Simeunovic calling the shots, the latter popping up a superb pass for Nenad Tomic to crash on to and flatfoot the Georgian defence; Dalibor Vukanovic adding the conversion

That sparked a Georgian revival and almost immediately Kvirikashvili again demonstrated his class by sidestepping over from 15 metres. Just before half-time, Georgia extended their lead when substitute George Nemsadze powered over from a superb pass by Kakhaber Kobakhidze

Serbia started the second half brightly but an excellent angled run from linking full back George Assatiani extended the visitors lead. More concerted home pressure failed to break the Georgian defensive cordon and on the hour they countered superbly when Pridon Udessiani was on the end of an overlap on the right

Two minutes later winger Lexo Gugava, picked up a loose Serbian pass and raced 70 metres to extend the lead; Kvirikashvili potting the easy conversion. By now Georgia were in full flow and an overlap on the right allowed Gugava to pick up a simple second converted try

The Serbs finally gained due reward for their toiling efforts with the score of the game, ten pairs of hands keeping the ball alive in thrilling fashion for Zoran Pesic to claim the spoils. The final word was left to the star of the show as Kvirikashvili opened up the defence and swerved majestically around Vukanovic to claim his hat trick and his side's eighth try

Watching RFL Performance Director, Graeme Thompson, commented:
"I watched the corresponding fixture last year in Georgia and I am very impressed by the progress made by both nations. They demonstrated that they are appreciating further technical and tactical aspects of the game and in time could challenge more mature nations"

The next match in the group sees Georgia host Holland in Tbilissi on Friday 26th May

GAME STAR   Georgian play maker Merab Kvirikashvili showed that he could be a real force in the sport with a stunning hat trick

GAME BREAKER   George Assatiani's touchdown in the 48th minute took the steam out of the Serb's commendable fight

SERBIA: 1. Dalibor Vukanovic, 2. Dimitris Daic, 3 Nenad Tomic, 4 Milan Djordjevic, 5 Zoran Pesic; 6 Luka Simeunovic, 7 Mate Granic / 8 Radoslav Novakovic (Capt), 9 Jovan Vujosevic, 10 Mario Milosavljevic; 11 Marko Jankovic, 12 David Milovanovic, 13 Marko Zebeljan - Subs [all used] 14 Radovan Valcic, 15 Milos Milinkovic, 16 Soni Radvanovic, 17 Darko Nerandjic

* 2T: Tomic (27), Pesic (71);  G: Vukanovic

GEORGIA [club, Union Caps; * League newcomer]:

1 George Assatiani [Locomotivi 0], 2 Lexo Gugava [Locomotivi 8], 3* Manuchar Namchevadze [Aia Kutaissi 0], 4 Sandro Guilauri [Locomotivi 0], 5 Zviad Koberidze [Qochebi 1]; 6* Merab Kvirikashvili [Lelo 13], 7* George Sordia [Aia Kutaissi 0] /

* Tornike Ashvetia [Aia Kutaissi 0], 9 Beka Qurashvili [Aia Kutaissi 0], 10 George Khossitashvili [Hooligana 0]; 11 Nikoloz Mkheidze [Locomotivi 0], 12* Shalva Sutiashvili [Locomotivi 2], 13 Kakhaber Kobakhidze [Raindebi 11] (Capt) -

Subs [all used]
14 Pridon Udessiani [Locomotivi 0], 15 Vakhtang Akhvlediani [Hooligana 0], 16* Roin Chikvaidze [Kharebi Rustavi 2], 17* George Nemsadze [Aia Kutaissi 2]

Coach: Kakhaber Alania [Locomotivi 25]; Doc: Temur Turmanidze; President: Guia Gorgaslidze; Guru: Vinny Webb [RFL, RLEF] 

* 8T: Kvirikashvili (2, 30, 78), Nemsadze (37), Assatiani (48), Udessiani (60), Gugava (62, 67); 6G, FG: Kvirikashvili

Men of the Match: Luka Simeunovic & Merab Kvirikashvili

Ref: Matthew Kidd (England). HT 6-19

Belgrade, FK Radnicki (Att 300)
Saturday, 13 May, 2006. KO 17.00 CET

Phil Caplan
RLEF Media Officer

RLIF Meeting

Source: RLEF * Saturday 06 May 2006

A meeting of the Rugby League International Federation, held on Thursday 4th May, confirmed that the 2008 World Cup will be played at the end of the game’s Centenary year - with planning under way for the tournament to be a glittering conclusion to a season-long celebration. The meeting of the Board at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium signed off on The Cup as an October/ November season’s-end event in Australasia

"Careful consideration has been given in recent weeks to all aspects of the timing of the Cup," said RLIF Chairman Colin Love. "We reached the conclusion that an end-of-year World Cup is the best all-round answer. All of us in the international league community will make a commitment to ensuring that the 2008 Cup will be a wonderful finale to rugby league’s most important year"

The Australian Rugby League will host a 10-country World Cup in 2008 - comprising the
five Foundation teams [England, Australia, New Zealand, France and Papua New Guinea] plus the five countries which make it through from hotly contested qualifying group tournaments

At RLIF elections Colin Love [ARL] was returned for the next two years as Board chairman, Richard Lewis [RFL & RLEF] for two years as deputy chairman, David Gallop [NRL] for two years as Board secretary, and New Zealand’s Selwyn Bennett was voted in as a member of the Executive, replacing countryman Selwyn Pearson who is stepping down

It was decided unanimously that rugby league would press on with the application for the game to become a member of the high-level world sports’ body GAISF [General Association of Sports Federations], an initiative which began at the recent GAISF assembly in South Korea

“The importance of membership of GAISF was fully accepted by members," said RLIF deputy chairman Richard Lewis. The fact is that a successful campaign for membership will be a wonderful boost for our emerging nations, giving them heightened credibility and the chance for official government support"

Initial European Qualification
details unveiled for World Cup

Source: RLEF * Monday 20 February 2006

Following detailed discussions at the recent Rugby League European Federation Board meeting in London, the first stage of qualification for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, to be held in Australia, has been unveiled

Four nations will face each other competing in games both home and away in the early part of this summer in the
European Preliminary World Cup Qualifying Competition. The two top teams from that will then progress into the main European Nations Group to face Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Lebanon in the autumns of 2006 and 2007 which will determine the World Cup qualifiers from Europe to join seeded countries France and England

The agreed
European Preliminary World Cup Qualifying Competition fixtures are as follows:

Fri  April 28th   Holland v Russia       Den Haag   
* 14-40
Sat  April 29th   Serbia v Georgia       Belgrade      * 10-45

Fri  May 26th    Georgia v Holland     Tbilissi        * 57-16
Sat  June  3rd    Serbia v Russia          Novi Sad

Sat  June 17th   Holland v Serbia         Den Haag
Sat  June 24th   Russia v Georgia        Moscow

Main European Nations Groups

Autumn 2006 + 2007

A:  Wales, Scotland, Preliminary Winner
B:  Lebanon, Ireland, Preliminary Runner-Up

Winners of groups [two teams in all] qualify for the World Cup finals

Runners-up in groups [another two European teams] play-off with Third-placed team of Pacific [inc Asia] group and Winner of Atlantic [Africa + Americas] group, with the sole Winner going to the World Cup finals

Official RLEF Seeding 2006

Source: RLEF * Thursday 16 February 2006

Following on from their latest bi-annual Board meeting held in London last weekend, the RLEF have now formally confirmed their first official seedings prior to competition kicking off in 2006

The inaugural listing is as follows:

 1   England
 2   France
 3   Wales
 4   Lebanon
 5   Ireland
 6   Scotland
 7   Russia
 8   Georgia
 9   Holland
10  Serbia
11  Morocco
12  Malta
13  Germany
14  Estonia
15  Czechia

Updates will be posted throughout the summer as nations begin the process of qualification for the 2008 Word Cup

RLEF Meeting

Source: RLEF * Monday 13 February 2006

Delegates from a record 16 Europeans nations; England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Russia, Georgia, Serbia, Lebanon, Germany, Austria, Holland, Estonia, Morocco, Italy and new comers Czechia attended the latest bi annual RLEF board meeting, held in London

As part of the event, the various representatives were guests of Harlequins RL as they opened their inaugural engage Super League campaign at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday after attending a series of seminars, principally by senior staff at the RFL, held at the ground

On Sunday morning they took part in group workshops including coach education and match officials and shared their experiences and examples of good practice on how to start and built a new sport in a country

RLEF Chairman Richard Lewis led the formal proceedings and discussions on an extensive agenda which saw a World Cup qualification process across 2006 and 2007 agreed for the 2008 tournament

This will commence with the
Euro Nations B being played between April and June 2006 involving Georgia, Holland, Russia and Serbia. The top two countries from that competition will then join Ireland, Lebanon, Scotland and Wales in a World Cup Qualifying tournament to be played across October and November of 2006 and 2007. A full set of fixtures will be released in due course

Official European Seeding list will be now be decided and displayed and updated regularly on the RLEF website