guest blog - Andrew Richardson talks Eastern European rugby

guest blog - Andrew Richardson talks Eastern European rugby

It's the 11th of July and a time in Northern Ireland its customary to get away! Off I popped to Dubrovnik in Croatia. Whilst sitting on my Balcony overlooking the gorgeous Dalmatia coast line I tweeted our colleague @rugbyHRV. Showing off a photo of the bay and asking where the rugby was. Immediately I was put in touch with Dubrovnik rugby club. I was invited to join in an off season session with some of their team in Cavtat. Cavtat is roughly 16 km away from Dubrovnik and boasts amazing views. Parking is tricky mind! Petra (Dubrovnik Rugby Twitter guru) met me and mini RugbyUlster. She introduced us to the team. Some of the team had left work purely for the session. Whilst I was clearly the only one that was massively out of practice and breath a great time was had. The same issues that I have experienced in Serbia is very similar to the issues Croatia face. Whilst the willingness is there at grassroots, finance, and buy in from national ministers could be better. The guys and girls who play rugby in Croatia would clearly love to go further and push for better funding. More tours from bigger nations domestic clubs would certainly help. The other big help would be national sportscasters not translating American Football as Rugby! The Balkans is a huge favourite of mine and whilst I deliberately avoid the ageless arguments and political issues they are very similar people. They love sport and Pivo! More importantly Rugby is being brought here! Slowly but surely. Look at the success of Romanian and Georgian national teams. This is achievable with the dedication of people like Petra and the guys from Dubrovnik Rugby Club!