Today, the Netherlands Rugby League Bond are delighted to confirm and announce the international calendar for the 2023 Season, featuring a record four matches this Autumn, which will include our first World Cup Qualification campaign in 17 years.
Our first fixture will be against European newcomers Albania, on Saturday 7th October at Zaandijk RC, Zaandam – Home of the Amsterdam Cobras. It will be the first meeting between the two nations, and the second international event hosted by Zaandijk in as many years.
Albania RL Chairman, Arnaldo Telo commented; “First of all thank you very much to Matt Rigby for making this match possible, and the opportunity to share our experiences, culture and goals. In relation to the match I want to emphasise the importance of this match for our organisation and our future project. We are very happy honestly speaking with the opportunity to play Nederland as our first international sanctioned match, and the reasons are many, but the most important is that we will play against a team with a lot of experience, and is the best way to make experience for our players as well and to learn the true level of our team as well, being that our objective is to take part in the next Euro D tournament and playing against the winner of Euro D, I think will make us understand what we need to do to achieve the same goal. I hope that this match will not be the last and the only one between our 2 nations, hopefully to have the second match in Albania and give the opportunity to our fans to be part and be able to enjoy an international match with a team like The Netherlands.”
Next up, we face off against Euro A side Serbia, on Saturday 14th October at RC Zwolle, OverIjssel – Home to the Zwolle Wolves. It will be the fourth meeting between the sides, with the three previous results going the way of the Oranje, with an aggregate score 86-50 between 2004-2006. It will be the second time that Zwolle have hosted an International RL match following the 2020 Griffin Cup match between the Netherlands & Germany.
Serbia Rugby League Federation’s, Dragan Pavlovic commented: “The game against The Netherlands in October this year is a big challenge for us. We need games and that’s why we’re looking forward to this match. Cooperation with the Netherlands is a great opportunity for both teams to prepare for RLWC 2025 qualifying matches as best as possible. Hopefully we’ll play another game in 2024 this time in Belgrade.”
Our third match takes us into Central Europe, travelling to Prague to take on the Czech Republic on Saturday 28th October in the first match of our Rugby League World Qualifying campaign. It will be the third meeting beetween the two nations, the most recent coming in Turkey and the Euro D Final victory.
Finally, we take on our neighbours Germany, in the second RLWC Qualifier match aswell as the 11th Griffin Cup on Saturday 4th November at The British School, Voorschoten. It will be the second international hosted at BSN following the 2022 meeting in front of a record 502 supporters.
Nederlandse Rugby League Bond Operations Manager, Matt Rigby added, “In 2023 we commence our first RLWC Qualification campaign in 17 years. It’s a huge opportunity for our players and staff, who I know will be looking to give themselves every opportunity of success. We are also excited to take on Balkan nations, Albania & Serbia. The Netherlands & Serbia has been earmarked as two of the top developing nations in Europe, and I know this match is highly sought-after by many across the globe. Off-field, we’re excited to work with Zaandijk, Zwolle & BSN again to give our supporters an incredible match day experience, with an aim to have ticket sales into 4-figures, we encourage all our supporters to secure their tickets early to avoid disappointment. We’re all extremely excited for the upcoming year.”
07 October – Netherlands vs. Albania (Zaandijk Rugby, Zaandam)
14 October – Netherlands vs. Serbia (RC Zwolle, Zwolle)
28 October – Czech Republic vs. Netherlands (TBC, Prague)
04 November – Netherlands vs. Germany (BSN, Voorschoten)