The Malta Rugby Football Union is happy to formally announce the launch of the 2021/22 Season Fixtures. After over a year away from the pitch we are all looking forward to the full return to not only Local Rugby but also our participation in International Matches.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has taken its toll on Maltese Rugby, just as it has on every local sport, creating unique challenges for our Organisation, which we must reiterate is operated by volunteers at all levels. It also provided our community with an opportunity to not only think back on the history of Local Rugby, but also to look towards the future. With this in mind, the MRFU has taken the decision to view this upcoming season as a development year for the Union, with the intention to strengthen the structures of our organisation and allow for the development of growing clubs. Doubling down on our commitment to create a long, prosperous, and sustainable future for Local Rugby.
Local Competition will officially kick off on Saturday 20th November with the traditional season opener, the Ray Elliot Cup match, between the winners of last season’s league winners Falcons RFC and runners up Stompers RFC. At this stage we must note that until announced otherwise, we sadly cannot welcome spectators to local Matches at Marsa, given that we lack the facilities and resources to ensure that Covid-19 mitigation measures for spectators can be managed in line with regulations.
Looking at Local Rugby, the months ahead closing off the year, will still focus on our Return to Rugby Programme. After such a long time away from the game, the MRFU has been following international standards for the staggered return to full contact rugby and competition. This is already underway with teams participating in weekly training friendlies between clubs to help prepare players for the season ahead. We are also very excited to announce that the UM Wolves RFC will be joining the roster for Senior Men’s 15s competition bringing the club total to 5 along with Falcons RFC, Kavallieri RFC, Stompers RFC, and Overseas RUFC.. This is an exciting step for local rugby, and the UM Wolves, who’s women’s team already have a season under their belt in the Women’s 7s Series.
International Rugby is also back, with the Men’s National team flying to Slovenia next week for their first official Fixture since 2019, taking on the Slovenian National team in Ljubljana on Saturday 30th October. Following that we will be hosting Israel at home, returning to the Tony Bezzina stadium on Saturday 13th November. We are currently finalizing the events details to ensure every aspect is in line with government policy and will announce on our social media channels when tickets are available.
We must also mention all the work that is going into our preparations for our participation for the 2023 edition of the Games of the Small States of Europe, which will be hosted in Malta. The inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the event is a great honour for us and our Sport and we are doing everything we can to ensure we bring the results that will make the country proud. This would not be possible without the continued support of the Malta Olympic Committee, and SportsMalta, who have given us the tools to be able to take on such a prestigious challenge.
At this time we would also like to take the opportunity to thank our members and supporters for their patience and understanding of the difficult decisions the MRFU had to make delaying our return to the pitch. A return that is only possible thanks to the hard work of our fantastic technical team, namely Technical Director Damian Neill and 7s Skills and Development Coach James Morris, both of whom have gone above and beyond to plan the way forward for our game. A big thank you must also go to the Volunteers at all levels of the MRFU, from the Executive Committee to the Clubs, who have not stopped working behind the scenes to ensure that the return to the pitch was even possible.
We look forward to sharing updates with you throughout the season ahead.
George Zammit Montebello
Vice President – Marketing and Health & Safety
Obo of the Malta Rugby Football Union