By Daniel Andruczyk
With the GB Pioneers tour now over and highly successful the momentum that has been gained cannot be allowed to drop. So what are the next steps in the near future for Polska Rugby XIII?
The philosophy of PRXIII has always been to take things one step at a time and this is something that we will continue to do. We are not in a race with anyone and so don;t need to make overly grand plans of where the sport will be in 5 years time. The focus is in local development not only at the senior but also the junior level. Its important that we lay a strong foundation to build the base of the sport in Poland.
Three things are clear in Poland:
- That there are lots young people that have the raw talent to play the sport and also that have the enthusiasm.
- here is in general support from the public for any new initiative that will help the kids not only in school but out of it.
- It is important that community is involved in the sport, that it is used in a positive way to help underprivileged people to do something different.
With this in mind, there are four main objectives that PRXIII has till the end of the year that can be grouped into two wider based areas. Local development and National development. These are all small enough and achievable and well within the means of the current organization. But in the end they both look to compliment the one big picture issue, and that is to maintain the momentum the sport has from the Pioneers tour.
The first is that we want to increase the playing numbers. Enough so that, at least, locally a second club can be formed in Lodz and thus some games between these players can be had. Its all about playing, not just training but playing actual matches. Two or three matches before winter would be ideal, but even just one local game is good.
One of the interesting aspects that Poland has for its youth is summer camps. These are all quite popular and tend to have many of the bright students go away for the camp to different places around the country. However there are also half-camp which are organized for youth that can’t get away for various reason, but still have activities back at home organised through the community. This is an obvious avenue to try and entice youth into the sport. It all a matter of having a 1 week session over summer where kids can throw a ball around and play some touch footy and get them into the sport that way. This was something experienced during the GB tour where they held a training session with about 70 kids in the Lagewniki forest in Lodz.
Being able to set not only a foundation base for the senior team, but start to work with juniors from the get go will ensure that in the coming years there will be a stream of locally grown players that play Rugby League, and Rugby League only. This means that PRXIII with its own players is not dependent on any other sport and having to worry about those players and their season, as can happen in other countries. PRXIII plays to its own tune and no one elses.
With all that in mind, the Polska Rugby XIII has to also play another international match. Ideally we would send the team to the Czech Republic, our closest neighbour and has the ability to field teams at several development levels that can give the Polish players a proper run. Its not about results, but about actually playing and keeping the players involved and wanting to play the sport. Winter can be long and there is always the chance players can lose interest, playing games and the thought of having games in the new year can keep them there.
It is also hoped that we will be able to get some more coaches and players from more established nations like England, who have an interest in helping international development come over even for a day and do coaching session and help out however they can. Something I know from personal experience is greatly appreciated by everyone in Poland.
Polska Rugby XIII also needs to form stronger links with other Rugby League playing nations. It is hoped that we will be able to join the RLEFs AGM in August to meet the movers and shakers from many of the other nations. This would be strictly in an observing capacity and to make contacts with other nations.
From the Players Side
In reality, many of the players just want to do that, play games and that is the most important thing right now. We just need to play more games, which will help get interest from more people wanting to give the sport a go and also get the public involved. Its all about growing the sport organically and naturally, not force feeding anything on anyone. When that happens its always a much healthier sport and organisation for it.