5th February 2016
Tries: Rez Philips, Richie Goodwin, Michael Mason, Dylan Jones
Goals: Ned Stephenson 1/4
Tries: Stevan Stevanovic 2, Djordje Vujanovic
Goals: Dalibor Vukanovic 0/3
Full Match Report
THERE were hardly any press reports anywhere about the Philippines out-muscling the bigger Serbian forwards to win a Test match at the whistle 18-12 at Cabramatta Stadium.
The Sydney press may have missed one of the most absorbing, thrilling and physical rugby league matches of the pre-season, even counting games in the major leagues.
Both sides played their hearts out for 80 minutes, Serbia opening its account with a classy try only five minutes into the game from Dorcol centre Stevan Stevanovic.
It was a wake-up call for the Filipinos, who retaliated with three successive tries. A barreling charge over the line by Rez Phillips left three defenders in his wake and sent out the first signal of the Tams’ fierce determination.
The second try was a spectacular gem. A kick from 10 meters sent Luke Srama and Michael Mason chasing after the ball with three Serbians in tow. The ball bounced in-goal and soared out of bounds. Speeding ahead of the pack, Srama flew to catch the ball in flight and flick it back inside to Mason who grounded the ball.Richard Goodwin added another try flying over the line on the right wing. Fortunately for the Serbians, the Tams’ conversion kicks were unsuccessful.
Then, before the halftime siren sounded, Serbia suffered its first casualty with one of the team’s big forwards limping off the field injured.
At halftime, the Philippines led 12-4.
Serbia opened the second half like men on fire. They piled two tries in eight minutes, from Stevanovic with his second try and Vujanovic on his international debut, to tie the score 12-12.
But shortly after, a second Serb fell on a tackle and had to leave the field on a stretcher. Again a fresh replacement came in, but that didn’t help much because a third Serb had to leave the field limping and be replaced. Philippines now had the momentum and the Serbians were visibly tiring fast.
Before the final whistle, Dylan Jones found an opening and shot through to break the tie and put Philippines ahead 16-12. The conversion kick by Ned Stepherson added another two points and sealed the fate of Serbia 18-12.
Serbia’s desperate attack in the dying seconds, near the Philippines’ defensive line, sent shivers up the Pinoys’ spine. But the Serbians were denied at the final whistle.
Trent Swanson, Blake Mackey, Richard Goodwin, Ned Stephenson, Michael Mason, James Marcus, Paul Sheedy, Dylan Jones, Luke Srama, Glenn Powers, Rez Phillips, Ricky Kucia, Steven Bernstrom , Tyrone Tooell, Elvis Jensen, Will Grooms, Jeremy Grooms
Joshua Marjanovic, Milos Zogovic, Milos Calic, Stevan Stevanovic, Dzavid Jasari, Vojislav Dedic, Dalibor Vukanovic, David Andjelic, Vladislav Dedic, Stefan Nedeljkovic, Djordje Vujanovic, Nikola Strbac, Ilija Radan, Reece Grkinic, Milan Radojevic, Ilija Cotric, Dejan Lukenic
12th May 2016
Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have announced the dates of their triangular series. Germany will host the Belgians in Dusseldorf on 6 August before travelling to Rotterdam a week later for the Griffin Cup, contested annually between the two neighbours. The Dutch complete the series on 3 September when they play in Brussels.
“It’s an honour to be coaching Germany again this year,” said Simon Cooper who, along with co-coach Bob Doughton, oversaw his side’s two impressive wins last year against previously unbeaten Spain and the Dutch, who have not beaten Germany in three attempts.
“It would be very easy for us to put a strong heritage team out,” continued Cooper, “Using the likes of Super League regular Jimmy Keinhorst of Leeds Rhinos and others within the professional game but we do not feel that is the right way to go. With Kristian Keinhorst’s retirement, Mawuli Amefia will take over the role of captain this year.”
German teenager Matej Beslic moved to England last year, studying and playing at Calderdale College and with National Conference League club Siddal in the summer, while a lot more development work has been undertaken locally, giving Cooper and Doughton a bigger pool of players to choose from than ever before.
Nederlandse Rugby League Bond Director of Development Jason Bruygoms is also confident that local growth will translate into an improved national team. “We are looking forward to our annual fixtures against our neighbours,” he said.
“With the growth of our domestic competition and new clubs being formed, we hope this will reflect in the national squad. This will be the first time we have run the international games at the end of the season after all the domestic games have been played. With the NRLB making the decision that local development is our number one priority, we find it exciting that our domestic players are now playing for a position in the national squad.”
Belgian and German teams finished second and third in this weekend’s Rotterdam Nines. Belgian Rugby League Association president Yves Kazadi is hoping that the national team can arrest a three-game losing streak.
“It’s a great challenge for our countries and this Test series between the three nations is always good for the sport’s development in western Europe,” he noted. “We will take the opportunity that comes with facing strong sides and assess the progress we have made since last year. Germany will start as favourites and Netherlands will be hard to beat following their domestic growth and that’s all good for the competition.”
Tony Benson (pictured) will once more lead Belgium, having joined the BRLA as Sport Director in November 2014.
Germany v Belgium – Mendesportanlage, Dortmund, 6 August
Netherlands v Germany - Rotterdamse Rugby Club, Rotterdam, 13 August
Belgium v Netherlands – Neder-Over-Heembeek, Brussels, 3 September
Following the success of their games in the Rugby League World Qualifiers last season – which saw Brian McDermott’s USA make the finals in 2017 – Canada, Jamaica and America have unveiled a new tournament, ‘The Rugby League Americas Cup.’ Each nation will play the other to determine the 2016 champions of the region, at venues in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Toronto. The aim is to play The Rugby League America Cup annually which will be discussed at the completion of this tournament.
USARL Chairman Peter Illfield commented: “The previous games between us in the World Cup were sensational; we only just beat Jamaica who then held Canada to a draw, with the Wolverines leading us at half time in the decider. Having rivals in such close proximity provides a healthy environment for success, extra motivation for our players, and further expansion of the sport.”
The opening Rugby League Americas Cup clash will see Canada Wolverines face the Reggae Warriors on 16 July at Levitown, Pennsylvania, USA. The following Saturday night, USARL Hawks play against Jamaica in Conshohocken, Philadelphia, USA. The final match, between Canada and the USA on 24 September at Lamport Stadium, Toronto will also count as the first leg of the Colonial Cup between the old rivals. The second leg of the Colonial Cup will be in the USA on 1 October.
“This competition is crucial to the development of the game in the region, gaining us increased exposure and credibility,” said Canada captain Steve Piatek. “It will provide a pathway for the athletes being produced by each nation.”
Jamaica head coach Romeo Monteith added: “The Americas Cup will give our players a meaningful international calendar, which we hope will become a regular series.”
RLIF chairman Nigel Wood, who attended the final world cup qualification match in Jacksonville last December, said: “This is a very significant initiative in the development of our sport internationally. All three nations are to be congratulated for taking the world cup qualifying process onto the next logical level. The introduction of this tournament together with the admission of the Toronto Wolfpack club into the RFL competition structure in 2017 represents a steep change in the position of rugby league in the Americas.”
Rugby League Americas Cup
Canada vs Jamaica – July 16th 3pm (Levitown PA) USA
USA vs Jamaica – July 23rd 7pm (Conshohocken, Philadelphia) USA
Canada vs USA – Sept 24th 7pm (Toronto) Canada
12th June 2016
Tries: Boscolo (31), Diac (35,77), Arrigo (46,51) Goals: Arrigo 0/2, Dodi 1/2, Giorgis 0/1
Sabat (4,14,64), Zeidan (10), Finan (24) Goals: Hachem 3/6
Full Match Report
Lebanon continued its unbeaten run in the Mediterranean Cup by beating Italy 26-22 in an exciting match played in Catania, Sicily, on Sunday.
A hat-trick of tries from centre Ray Sabat, two scored inside the first 15 minutes, helped put Lebanon into a commanding 20-0 lead but unconverted tries from two of Italy’s more experienced players, accomplished hooker Simone Boscolo and utility Catalin Diac, closed the gap to 12 points at the interval.
Two tries in a five-minute spell from debutant Italian fullback Antonio Arrigo put the home side firmly back in contention. Had he converted his second, on 51 minutes, the scores would have been tied at 20-all, but Lebanon hung onto their slender two-point lead.
Sabat’s hat-trick, on 64 minutes, gave the Cedars some breathing space, while scrum-half Jad Hachem’s 71st minute penalty meant Italy had to score twice to overcome the 26-18 deficit. They managed one of those, with Diac touching down again with three minutes to go, but Lebanon’s defence survived.
Lebanon quote Tarik Houchar, who had flown in from Sydney with two support staff a week before the trip, put the win down to solid week in camp: “The preparation was a reflection of the result, I'm very proud of the effort the boys displayed in what was a very tough game on Italy's home turf. We got off to a great start and took control of the game early with our high completion rate, our first mistake led to a Italy try which invited them back in the game.
“There were some outstanding efforts out there; captain Robin Hachache led the way in defence and in attack, Ghassan Dandach and Khalil Bejjani both played 80 minutes, were in everything and were inspirational with some solid defensive efforts. There's a lot talent coming through our system and the local competition in Lebanon will only grow and produce more players in years to come.”
Both sides fielded 12 debutants in the first Med Cup since 2004, which was played in Sicily as part of the Federazione Italiana Rugby League’s strategy to develop its southern most outpost. Both federations had agreed to field only players classified under the RLEF’s ‘domestic quota’ rule, to aid local development.
Antonio Arrigo, Edoardo Pezzano, Matteo Mazzoleni, Davide Spinnato, Catalin Diac, Matthew Sands, Igor Giammario, Francesco di Trapani, Simone Boscolo, Guiseppe Pagani, Gioele Celerino, Luca Rossetti, Riccardo Dodi. Subs: Jaume Giorgis, Salvatore Catania, Michele Sutto, Achraf Hliwa
Hazem Tawil, Rami Abboud, Joseph Zeidan, Raymond Sabat, Imad Chidiac, Wael Harb, Jad Hschem, Rudy Hachache, Raeh Taouk, Mounir Finan, Ghassan Dandach, Khalil Bejjani, Robin Hachache. Subs: Mike Tawk, Nabil Tawil, Ali Abou Arabi, Gianni Hammoudi
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