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Press Release: Britain’s Oxford University Rugby Team, to take on the Czech National XV

27.5.2005 For Immediate Release

May 24, 2005 - Prague.

Britain’s Oxford University rugby team travel to Prague to take on the Czech National side on Saturday 18th June, at Ricany ground at 16:00. The contest represents an important step in the development of the game here in the Czech Republic, as well as signifying confidence in the ability of Czech rugby to attract top quality opposition from other European countries.

The arrival of the Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) or The Blues in Prague will be a symbolic occasion for the growth of rugby in the Czech Republic. OURFC is regarded as one of the oldest rugby clubs in existence.

Founded in 1869, the club predates the formation of the Rugby Union, the governing body of the sport which survives to this day in an international framework, by fifteen months.

The club has also had a significant role in the development of the game and the various major changes the game has undergone since its formation 125 years ago. Conversely, Czech rugby, still emergent and amateur by nature, doesn’t yet enjoy such support loyalty that the Czech Republic’s European rugby-playing neighbors do.

The match will demonstrate very different styles of rugby: Oxford come here with an abundance of tradition behind them, plus experience playing rugby in a country which boasts the current World Champions (England), whereas the Czech National side will view this clash very much as a means to promote their sport and gain a valuable reputation in the eyes of the rugby community at large.

Regardless of the outcome of the match, this challenge will bring two very different teams together, united under one aegis; their passion for rugby.

Quotes

Jan Machacek, national team coach, comments on the valuable practice some of his team members receive from playing abroad: “Nowadays, we have lots of players playing their rugby abroad. Especially in England and France. Not always the very top level, but still in the higher divisions. This helps the quality of our game massively.”

He adds that: “this match will help to boost a positive image of rugby in the Czech Republic, whilst affording our players the opportunity to play against one of the most famous rugby clubs in the world.”

Notes to the editor:

OURFC consists of a squad of 36 players, all studying at Oxford University. As well as playing other top university rugby teams in Britain, the Blues also go head to head with some of Britain’s Premiership clubs. Furthermore in 2002, OURFC also hosted the World Champions Australia and lost by the relatively narrow margin of 26 – 54 (Equivalent to a 3 -5 hockey score).

The Blues also toured to Japan in 2004, taking on top Japanese rugby teams such as Kanto Gakuin, Waseda and Doshisha in Tokyo and Kyoto. Touring abroad gives the players not only a chance to experience new places, but also to share a common interest with cultures and peoples with whom they may otherwise have little in common with.

The Czech National team is coached by Frenchman Christian Galonnier who is the rugby advisor of the Youth and Sports board of the Hautes-Pyrenees region. He is ably assisted by his two player-assistants Martin Pekacek and Jan Machacek.

There are about 15 players in the team playing abroad in competitions at various levels. In France, there is one player in PRO D1, one in PRO D2, six in Federale 1 and about five other playing in other competitions. In England, there are three players playing National Division Two.

There are some other players playing minor competitions in Wales, Spain and Germany. The Czech National side plays in the six nations B tournament alongside the likes of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Georgia and Romania.

Czech team's fixtures:

  • 5.6. 2005 Czech XV v Somerset RFC, at Sparta Rugby Stadium, k/o 16:00
  • 12.6.2005 Georgia v Czech Republic, Kutaisi, Georgia
  • 18.6.2005 Czech Republic v Oxford University RFC, at Říčany RFC Stadium
  • 9.10.2005 Czech Republic v NSW Waratahs, at Slavia Stadium in Prague

More information:

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For further information, please contact:

Patrick Davidson
Media representative for the CSRU

+420 602 615094

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