In what is a fantastic partnership between the two nations, Scottish rugby league have hosted 3 Latvian delegates who observed the U15 & U16 Bravehearts national camp, held in Sportscotland’s National Centre in Largs.

On the trip as part of the RLEF’s European Commission-backed Governance Foundation Project, the three participated in a Scottish RL board meeting, in what was the second phase of the partnership after Scottish RL representative Darren Senter visited Riga last year.

For Vilmars Sokolovs, the Latvian Rugby League Manager, it is an interesting insight into how the Scottish RL is run as they have both in a similar positions at one stage.

“It was extremely interesting to discover that the actual and sometimes problematic issues of SRL are amazingly similar to us – the difference is just their scale. The knowledge and experience that we gained here, as well as SRL and RLEF help, will allow us to overcome the difficulties faced by all countries where rugby of any kind is not a traditional sport,” said Sokolovs.

“Our coaches – Aivis Ashmanis, Janis Pashkus and myself – had the opportunity to work and gain experience with leading Scottish youth coaches as well as Super League club St Helens, whose development manager Neil Kilshaw and youth team coach Steven Leonard were also present. The skills and experience that we obtained are invaluable for the whole of Latvian rugby league, we have friends who can help us with advice, knowledge and share experience.”

For the Scottish RL, Senter hopes that the visit was a beneficial one for the Latvian representatives, as he looks to organise some form of developmental tour in 2014 to increase the awareness of rugby league in Latvia.

“My visit to Latvia in 2012 gave me a good indication of how Scotland could better support Latvia Rugby League. The national camp had a clear focus on planning and reviewing coaching practices which I hope will be beneficial to Vilmars, Janis and Aivis in the future. We hope to organise a development tour there in 2014 to help them raise the awareness of rugby league in Latvia,” said Senter.

By ricky

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