Tirana Rugby Club is the first rugby club of its kind in Albania. The team was formed during the month of August in the year 2013. Even if the team was formed in 2013, rugby was played since the years 2010-2011 from some boys that searching for something more in a sport then they could find in existing sports in Albania. They where in search of more adrenaline, more contact, something new, innovative that was never before heard in Albania.
Thought still without a proper structure, on the 5 August 2013, the first exhalation match in Albania was held, organized by participants of our team and some Albanians who played rugby in Italy. In the game there were, Albanian players who came specifically from Italy to play in this match, players of our group ( still not well-established and structured), also foreign players that where part our group and helped us form time to time.
The beginning and creation of the team was very difficult because of the unfamiliarity that Albanians have with the sport of rugby makes it difficult to recruit. However, with time, the team got bigger in numbers, this thanks to the hard work of our coaches Xhino Drangu and Adam Vernon that gave us the first bases of the game of rugby and helped us form a more compact and stable team. As time passed it was time to show what we had learned it our first real game of rugby. The first match was against the rugby team from Kosovo, with whom, in the coming months to come we would have two more encounters, of which one here in Tirana and the other in Pristina, Kosovo. The game that took place in Kosovo was part of a tournament organized by the Kosovo team. In it there where 3 teams; our team, the team from Kosovo (Kosovo Roosters Rugby Club) and a Belgian team (Kibubu Rugby Club). Also during this year, 2015 Tirana Rugby Club has held two games agains a team from Montenegro, (Podgorica Rugby Club) which where very important in the aspect of experience and team molding.
On the 28 November 2015 we achieved our first win, against the team from Kosovo, Kosovo Roosters Rugby Club.
Other games that we have played are, one against the team form Montenegro, “Mornar Bar Rugby Club”. Maybe the most important game for us till now, the one against each-other , Tirana- Iliret, “Klubi Regbise Iliret” is a team which in fact is part of the Tirana team, and are the first steps to creating a second team, that maybe in the future it will have its own identity. To organise this match the players from the Tirana team split in two parts, where one part play for the Tirana team and the other one play for the Iliret. This match is of a particular importance in itself, because it was the first match between the first two Albanian teams in the history of rugby in Albania. The game took place on the 16 of May 2016 in Elbasan with the help of OSCE. This match ended 0-12 in favor of the Iliret team.
The new season in September 2016, Marty Lusty joined the team and the role of director of Albanian Rugby was assigned to him by the team. Marty is the person who developed and spread rugby in Montenegro and also ex-coach of the Montenegro Rugby national team.
The 2016 season opened with two preparatory matches within the Tirana team, which split in the two teams, that of Tirana and that of Iliret. The first match was held on the 2 of October 2016 at Kompleksi Dinamo and ended with a score of 46-35 in favor of Tirana. The second preparatory match was held on the 30 of October 2016 and this time was won by the Iliret team with a score of 19-36.
The first match against a foreign team was held on the 3 of December 2016, in Bar (old Tivar) Montenegro between Mornar Bar Rugby Club and Tirana Rugby Club. This was the first match planed for this season with more to come against different teams in the region and abroad.
Now, the team has grown in numbers and always in searching for new rivals and matches which may be held. There also exists a plan to develop a mini-tournament with our team and the Kosovo team, which would be a three game competition a year. In the years to come new Albanian teams that might be created can join the tournament.
The main aim of Tirana Rugby Club is developing the sport of rugby in Albania and as the fist and only team of rugby in Albania we feel that it is our duty do spread this sport. Naturally, one of the aims we have appointed to ourselves is the formation of new teams all over Albania, of whom, the new team Iliret which is the first step, and we are also working to open a team in city of Elbasan.
A step that the team has undertaken to create a relationship with internationals, is to create a sister-ship with two teams in Italy, L’Aquila R.C. and Gran Sasso R.C. , with whom we are planing to organise different sporting events in the future.
At our first beginnings, in the year 2013, our coach was Xhino Drangu which had a modest experience in Rugby, in England around 5 years. He helped us to understand and play the game of rugby in a proper way. At the moment, our coach is Adam Vernon, of English origin and has played in really high levels of rugby in pro and semi-pro levels. Another and important addition to our team is Marty Lusty, he holds the position of director of Albanian Rugby.
Apart from rugby, has also taken part in the first ever Cricket match in Albania and also the second one, match organised form the English Embassy and “Crown Agents”.
The legal status of the team is a non profit association, and operates as such since the year 2015. The difficulties to create and develop the sport in Albania are unimaginable, however since OSCE has joined in the effort everything became much easier. We have received help with training equipment and other things form Crown Agents, Kuel Distribution and the store “Jezerca”. Regardless of all the help we have, expenses are great so all help is appreciated.
Since we are a relatively young team, we welcome any person who wants to try the sport of Rugby regardless of the experience, physic or any other characteristics. Every person who wants to help can find more information by contacting us on our Facebook page:”Klubi Regbise Tirana”
Contact:”Albanian Rugby”,”Klubi Regbise Iliret”, “Klubi Regbise Tirana”