Rugby is alive and well in North Cyprus, at least amongst the University fraternity, with a few expats getting stuck in as well. With the recent snow in the UK causing some upset to fixtures there, that has not been the case in the TRNC, just the usual and more pressing issue of finding suitable space to play matches on.

Over the past month there have been two rounds of matches played at the Cyprus International University (CIU) on the outskirts of Lefkosa. Four teams in total have been involved in a tens tournament (limited to this size due to pitch size available), representing CIU, Near East University (NEU), Lefke Barbarians and Girne American University (GAU – basically The Pumas)

With probably 90% of the players involved coming from the African students attending the universities mentioned – and of those the vast majority coming from Zimbabwe – all the games were played at breakneck speeds with not too many rucks or mauls to slow play down. The first event, held on the 25th November resulted in a narrow win for the CIU team, with NEU coming to the fore last Saturday to win the second round of matches. With a probable break now over the holiday period, all teams are hoping that more events can be staged in the New Year.

As alluded to above the biggest problem for organising rugby is finding suitable playing surfaces which the host football teams are willing to allow rugby to be played on. With groundsmen wary of having their prize pitches potentially cut up by scrummaging etc, it is always a problem to find suitable venues. The organisation of these mini tournaments is also an issue and if anyone reading this would like to become involved, please do not hesitate to make contact through this article.

The results from Saturday’s matches are:-

The results reflected some close matches with no game seeing a win by more than two tries. With a bonus point for scoring four tries and a further bonus point available for losing within one score, the overall table was as follows.

If any players are interested in becoming involved in the New Year, again please contact those involved through this article via this link: https://cyprusscene.com/write-to-cyprusscene/