Date: 8/7/15

RC Fēnikss has been crowned Latvian rugby league champions after the second tranche of matches in the four team competition, begun last autumn, were completed.

Ķekava Warriors were runners-up ahead of Grobiņa Vikings and Livonia.

Vilmārs Sokolovs, LRL President, commented. “This was the completion of our second season and we felt, having the season split this time – with a winter break included between December and February – worked very well. More players were attracted to play.

“We have in place both a short and long term development plan and this structure leaves us the summer free for both the U18s and full international squad training, alongside 9’s and beach competitions.”

Sokolovs added, “It also gives a great opportunity for our players to gain experience in England. This has been made possible by our partnership with current Super League Champions St Helens.

“It came about when I met up with Steve Leonard, their development manager, in Scotland working with the Scotland development squads.

“Steve has become Latvia RL’s biggest supporter, he helped our national side prepare for the recent 2017 RL World Cup pre-qualifier and our U18 side out in the Czech Republic last year.

“He has also given three of our international players the opportunity to train with English professional club Rochdale Hornets and one of the top amateur sides Thatto Heath during this summer.”

“The experience that these players gain can then be used back with their own clubs in Latvia strengthening the already improving standard,” Sokolovs continued.

“The next phase of our development starts in our schools. We are launching a Touch RL programme, firstly concentrating on the primary schools which surround our established clubs.

“That will be expanded by identifying new club areas and targeting schools there in order to provide an orchestrated spread of our sport.”