Rugby League is a rather new full-contact team sport to the Maltese Islands, with the first game played at Marsa in 2005 by a largely Australian-Maltese touring team from the East-coast of Australia. The Maltese team opened with a successful 36-6 victory over England Lionhearts and featured one local Maltese player, Robert Bonavia.
Played with an oval-shaped ball by two teams of thirteen on a rectangular grass field, it is one of two codes of Rugby Football, the other is Rugby Union.
Rugby Union's first steps on the Maltese Islands date back to the mid 1900's when the first club (Overseas Rugby Club) was established in 1946. Malta's national Rugby Union team is now ranked in the 40's.
Rugby League is played by teams across Malta and also the sister island of Gozo has it's own representation after the Malta Rugby League (MRL) introduced Gozo RL as a foundation club in 2011.
The 13-man code is faster, yet simpler to understand for spectators, exciting and spectacular to watch and concentrates on the core rugby skills that are catch, pass, tackle and kick. At the professional level, Rugby League is played by skillful and powerful athletes with the sport demanding that players show determination, sporting ingenuity and courage.
Rugby league is most prominent across the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and France where the sport is played professionally, however it is played throughout Europe, Africa, the USA, the West Indies and across Asia. Throughout Europe, Rugby League is also played in the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Wales.
New Zealand are the current Rugby League World Cup Champions and the next edition of the World Cup will be hosted by England and Wales in 2013.
Laws of the Game
International laws click here