The governing body of Italian Rugby league, FIRL, has announced their 2011 season calendar, which aims to further develop the domestic competition to build the profile and standard of the national side as they look to qualifying for the 2013 World Cup.
The season will begin this week with national camps run by newly appointed Assistant Technical Director Paul Broadbent in Piacenza and Padova.
He will be in charge of around 30 FIRL registered players who have been identified as being likely candidates for the World Cup qualifiers due to be held in Serbia in October.
Matthew Sands, a stalwart of the national side with 12 caps, declared: “It’s a great honour to have a coach of the calibre of Paul within the ranks, I’m sure he will bring knowledge and professionalism to the team which will help us make a big step up in quality.
“The camps that FIRL are organising will give the players the opportunity to improve their individual skills and some technical aspects of Rugby 13, personally I can’t wait to get to the trials and try to demonstrate that I have the level required to represent my country.”
Among the players present will be some from a new side formed in Milan with the arrival of XIII del Duomo (XIII of the Cathedral). The club in the capital of Lombardy has been created thanks to the efforts of Alessandro Cuomo and will be based at Cernusco sul Naviglio.
“We have worked in a serious and professional way in conjunction with FIRL to establish a rugby league reality in Milan," he said.
"FIRL has presented a medium to long term project to develop necessary skills and shape the sport in the area, which we have embraced with a lot of enthusiasm.”
The governing body has unveiled a new three-year strategy to take them through to the 2013 World Cup which will centre on recruitment, education, strengthening, and culture. The aim is to expand the sport throughout the country including the running of coaching and refereeing courses.
Their overall objectives are to continue the development of an Italian national championship, increase the competitiveness of Italian rugby league and form a strong national side which will compete in all recognised international competition.
FIRL SCHEDULE 2011
February 25-27, 2011: National Camp with Paul Broadbent, Piacenza
March 10-13, 2011: National Camp with Paul Broadbent, Padova
End of May/start of June, 2011: National Camp and friendly game in France (Lyon)
Italian Championship: Rugby League Series A
Second week, June 2011: First Round
Third week, June 2011: Second Round
June 25-26, 2011: National Camp and friendly game in France (Lyon)
First week July, 2011: Third Round
July 9, 2011: Grand Finals Rugby League Series A
End of August, 2011: National camp World cup qualification preparation; Nord West vs. Nord East State of Origin