The next big event to be received from Russia will be held in Poland

Since the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, we have witnessed unprecedented international unification in social, political, economic and sporting fields. The country of the aggressor faces further sanctions, including those imposed by federations in almost all disciplines. On 1 March, Rugby Europe’s board of directors decided to suspend all Russian teams from the competition and postpone any scheduled events in that country. One of them will eventually reach the Vistula River.

– I am happy that Poland is in charge of organizing the 7 European Rugby Championships, which were originally to be held in Moscow. As a result of aggression against Ukraine, Russia loses the right to hold another international sports competition. This shows that the uncompromising sanctions in the field of sports, which we as the Ministry of Sports and Tourism have been advocating since the beginning of the war, are effective and that the pressure on sports makes sense, says Minister of Sports and Tourism Kamil Bortniczuk.

The messages from Interia from a few weeks ago were thus confirmed.

The 7th European Rugby Championship is the second prestigious event after the Volleyball World Championship the organization was transferred from Russia to Poland† Our country is therefore not only a reception center for millions of refugees, but also takes responsibility for important sporting events.

From the beginning of March, the Polish Rugby Union made efforts to obtain the right to host the tournament. Poland has hosted the men’s elite rivalry in the past, but fans have not yet had the chance to watch the top-tier women’s rugby team live. This year, Krakow’s candidacy proved so strong that Rugby Europe authorities have made a decision they may have colossal importance for the development of this discipline on the Vistula River.

– Polish rugby is on the rise. A year ago, our representatives won the European Vice Championship. They achieved a historic success, which resulted in an invitation to two prestigious tournaments from the World Sevens Series series. Biało-Czerwony proved there that they are getting closer to the world top. In April we celebrated the promotion of our 15-man men’s team to the Rugby Championship. We are also developing organizationally, which was appreciated by the European federation, which entrusted us with the organization of the final tournament of the European Championship. It is a great honor and a challenge to create an unforgettable event in Krakow – emphasizes Dariusz Olszewski, President of the Polish Rugby Association.

The tournament will take place in the first weekend of July at the Henryk Reyman Municipal Stadium in Krakow – the location where Wisła Kraków plays their matches. The men’s and women’s group match is scheduled for Friday and Saturday (1-2 July). The last matches will be played on Sunday 3 July. This will be the second, deciding tournament. The first will take place a week earlier in Lisbon. The results of these matches will determine the group division, but it is already known today that among the female teams there are eg Spain, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Belgium. In the men’s tournament, the rivals of the Poles are the French, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Germans and Georgians.

Polish women enter the competition as vice-champion of Europe† A year ago, only the Russians turned out to be better than them, now they are excluded from the tournament. A year ago, the men’s team was in eighth place and in Krakow it will certainly want to prove that it can afford to fight with the top leaders.

– We will be placed in the first place, in the absence of the Russians we will be the highest ranked team of the previous European Championships – tells us female rugby team coach 7, Janusz Urbanowicz† – Please note however that that event was played during the COVID-19 pandemic, the absentees will play in Krakow eg very strong teams from France, England, Ireland and Wales – these are teams that regularly participate in prestigious World Series- tournaments. We will be very happy to even win a bronze medal, especially for our audience, it will be a great experience. The tournament in Krakow will be an excellent preparation for qualifying for the World Cup competition, which will take place in South Africa in September. We will also participate in the tournament in Chile to be a permanent part of the World Series. This season is unique and a breakthrough for us – we are fighting for medals and the greatest recognition of rugby in Poland – coach Urbanowicz summed up.

Maciej Slominskic

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