New Leeds and Belgium rugby links are scrum-thing special

Fabien Watteyne (3rd left) and Yves-Michael Kazadi (right) with Stuart McKenna and Dan Busfield. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Fabien Watteyne (3rd left) and Yves-Michael Kazadi (right) with Stuart McKenna and Dan Busfield. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Belgium’s rugby league chairman and one of its top sports advisers visited Leeds to get tips on rugby league from one of the spiritual homes of the sport.

Leeds Rhinos and council representatives welcomed Yves-Michael Kazadi and Fabien Watteyne to a meeting at Leeds Civic Hall and a guided tour at Headingley Carnegie stadium.

Rugby league links between the two nations were first forged when Belgium played Malta in Leeds last year in an international friendly.

Councillor Stuart McKenna, who is Leeds City Council’s lead member for sport and a trustee of Leeds Rugby Foundation, explained Belgium only has a handful of amateur teams at league level, and there are big ongoing efforts to develop the game.

During the visit, the Rhinos showcased some of the work they do with youngsters and shared tips on developing the game.

The visiting party met key figures like Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington and the Lord Mayor of Leeds during their stay.

They also watched Leeds Rhinos play.

Belgium only took up rugby league seven years ago after the success of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup resulted in a popularity surge for the sport globally.

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