Rugby league in the Netherlands
The first steps of introducing Rugby League in the Netherlands were made in 1989 during the preparation for and the participation at the Tertiary Student Rugby League World Cup. The Dutch, along with the Irish, were very much the fledglings of that competition. The Netherlands Amateur Rugby League itself was in that year less than a year old, having been established only in November 1988 with Hans Modderman as its first president.
A good deal had however been achieved in that short period and the Dutch were particularly grateful to the intensive coaching session's conducted by Tas Baitieri, Ian Harris, Phil Larder and Fred Lindop. Tas, Ian and Phil were big names in their days. The Dutch students were mainly first division rugby union players but keen and enthusiastic, if a little apprehensive, about their participation in the World Cup. As part of their build up to the tournament, they played against the French Army at the Royal Military Academy in Breda, which was the first rugby league match in the Netherlands and must be one of the few rmatches in those days played between two none English speaking nations. In this inaugural match, Toon Boersma scored both tries for the Netherlands.
The team was made up of
- Toine van der Bert (Utrecht Students),
- Toon Boersma (Leiden Students),
- Pim Bogaers (Amsterdam Students),
- Fred Bos (Amsterdam Students),
- Gerard van Brakel (Amsterdam Students),
- Garry Corthals (Delft Students),
- Lon Cramers (Royal Military Academy),
- Hans Dinkla (RC Dwingeloo),
- Karel Dinkla (RC Dwingeloo),
- Michiel van Dijk (Utrecht Students),
- Paul Heiden (Amsterdam Students),
- Fred Housheer (Utrecht Students),
- Remco Klasen (Groningen Students),
- Paul Hengeveld (ARC-NFC Amstelveen),
- Nick Veenstra (Amsterdam Students),
- Bob Voorbraak (Amsterdam Students),
- Daan Sistermans (Groningen Students),
- Chatib Sjarbaini (Amsterdam Students),
- Joost Taaken (Amsterdam Students),
- Theo Voogd (Utrecht Students),
- Johan Vos (Groningen Students) and
- Eric Warmoltz (Groningen Students).
The World Cup 1989 was held in York and including eight teams: the four Home Nations plus Australia, New Zealand, France and of course the Netherlands. In the group games the Dutch were defeated by Wales (10-48), France (12-42) and New Zealand (16-50). The Cup seventh vs eight final was left in which Scotland defeated the Netherlands (10-20).
After that tournament there was a follow-up in November 1989 in Toulouse (France). The Dutch were invited to play a match against Toulouse Olympique which ended in an admirable draw (20-20).
Unfortunately it took till 2003 before the next game took place when two Netherlands sides hosted two national touring sides from Scotland in the Netherlands. The first 13-a-side club game of Rugby League was also played in 2003 with Den Haag side Te Werve hosting Essex Eels. Also during 2003 a Zuid Holland representative side played in the York 9's.
The Netherlands competed in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup qualifying competition alongside Russia, Georgia and Serbia. The team lost to Russia and Georgia before beating Serbia to come third in the group. The third-place finish was not enough to see the Netherlands progress in the competition.
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