Against the backdrop of continuing war, the rugby league season in Ukraine began last Saturday, with the first round of the men’s championship seeing a festival of matches taking place in Lviv. The six sides, who will play 9s tournaments, were split into two groups; Kharkiv Legion XIII, Ivano-Frankivsk Stanislaviv and Donetsk region in pool A and Lviv Tigers, Kyiv Rhinos and Khmelnytskyi Eagles in pool B.
Before play commenced, Petro Adamyk, vice-president of the Ukrainian Federation of Rugby League addressed the participants and crowd, paying tribute to the nation’s soldiers, saying: “It is them we have to thank for the opportunity to play our favourite sport.” He continued: “Many rugby players are currently in the war zone.”
Guest of honour at the tournament was the mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovy, who officially opened the championship. In the final, to pick up six points on the league ladder, Kharkiv Legion XIII defeated Lviv Tigers 28-14, Khmelnytskyi Eagles finishing in third place.
The following day, also at the Yunist Stadium in Lviv, the junior tournaments began.
At U16 level, four teams played in a full round, Khmelnytskyi Eagles winning all three of their games with Ternopil second, Rivne third and Lviv fourth.
In the U18 age group, two sides took part in the first round, Donetsk region and Ternopil Knights, who faced each other twice, Donetsk narrowly winning both matches. Teams from Rivne and Lviv will participate in the championship from the second round which will take place in Khmelnytskyi on June 18.