Rugby development in Slovakia
What is the situation of the rugby in Slovakia today? Do you have a federation?
Slovakia is neither a country with a big rugby tradition nor does rugby as a sport benefit from cultural imports like American football, which is shown in many US movies and thus creates interest. Yet despite of this rugby is growing in the last years and I hope including this sport in Olympics will help to propagate it even more.
On the club level the situation is stabilized with successful recruitment. We even see the development of womens’ rugby and what is important, rugby for children.
Clubs are represented in a Slovak Rugby Union that runs two competitions in rugby XV and one in rugby sevens. Union organizes various workshops to improve the level of rugby in Slovakia, so every player who is interested in his development has the means to do so.
I guess the rugby might be confused with the American football. How could you describe this sport to the public?
Rugby is a fast-paced sport that requires strength, stamina and intelligence. I won’t bother you with detailed rules but the goal is to take to ball to the opponents’ goal area. Passing is allowed only backwards so one has to use either strength or outmaneuver the defenders.
You are involved as a President in the Rugby Klub Bratislava. What are your projects for the season 2017?
Our first goal is to further stabilize the squad. While in the past RKB relied massively on foreign players who were studying and working in Slovakia, now the goal is to build the core of the team from Slovaks. Any foreigners – experienced players or beginners – are still welcome though. We are launching the rugby school project and I’d like to invite all kids to come and try this wonderful sport.
For the rugby school, you have organized your first tournament for children. Do you think the rugby is a good sport for the development of the youths? comparing for example to the football, hockey…
Every sport is good for kids but I think rugby has several specifics that make it especially suitable. First of all, there is a place for every body type in rugby XV – small and lean, big and strong. Among most coveted values in rugby are teamwork, respect and healthy competition so it can help to build not only muscles but character too.
The rugby is a contact sport, not everyone are able to compete? it might be tough and rough, not easy to attract new members then?
Yes, rugby is a contact sport and it has undeserved image of being something brutal. While it can be tough sometimes, safety of the players is the most important thing and is looked after by the trainers, referees and other players as well. And on a lighter note, player can be only tackled when he has ball. So who is fast enough with running and passing can have a game without being tackled at all. But I think most of the new players find out after the first training what they can expect. And most comes then again.