Host Nations – All nations will host one home game each with the “Finals Day” being held in Wales.
Number of Teams – 6 (Serbia, Wales, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Lebanon)
2009 European Cup Snapshot – The 2009 European Cup was a big step for international rugby league in Europe and the Middle East. The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) provided 2nd tier Rugby League nations with an annual tournament to assist with their ongoing development. This new tournament differed from past European tournaments. The European Cup would eventually evolve to reward the winner with a place in the Four Nations tournament Involving Australia, England and New Zealand.
The 2009 European Cup would only provide bragging rights to the winner as France were awarded the 4th place in the inaugural Four Nations for 2009. But the tournament still remained important to the growth of rugby league throughout Europe. All teams tried to avoid a last place finish as this resulted in that nation missing out on the 2010 tournament as room was made for the French to join the competition.
Russia withdrew from the competition on the 2nd of September 2009 due to financial issues. Italy the winners of the 2008 and 2009 European Shield were brought into the tournament as Russia’s replacement. This continued a dream ride for the Italian’s who had moved ahead in leaps and bounds at the domestic level over the previous few years.
The 2009 tournament saw Serbia and Italy suffer heavy defeats against the other nations with both finishing bottom of their pools. Wales and Scotland finished top of their respective pools while Lebanon and Ireland both secured 2nd place in their pools.
The “Finals Day” lived up to all expectations as Italy defeated Serbia in a play-off for a place in the 2010 European Cup. The 2nd placed teams saw Lebanon defeat Ireland for 3rd place. The final between Scotland and Wales was a close game. Wales proved to strong winning the game 28 – 16 against a brave Scottish side. Wales will now go into the 2010 European Cup as hot favourites to win the tournament alongside the French.
The European Cup matches being played throughout Europe and the Middle East is another piece of the international puzzle and will help nations prepare for the 2013 World Cup qualifiers that are due to commence in 2011.
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2009 EUROPEAN CUP SQUADS
Ireland: Scott Grix (Wakefield), Bob Beswick (Halifax), Liam Harrison (Barrow), Karl Fitzpatrick (Salford), Liam Finn (Dewsbury), Luke Ambler (Leeds) Marcus St Hilaire (Oldham), Pat Richards (Wigan), Mick McIlorum (Wigan), Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington), Jason Golden (Harlequins), Wayne Kerr (Oldham), Dave Allen (Barrow), Sean Hesketh (York), Ryan Boyle (Castleford), John Coleman (Dublin City Exiles), Brendan Guilfoyle (Treaty City Titans), Paddy Barcoe (Carlow Crusaders), Tim Bergin (Laois Panthers), Stevie Gibbons (Carlow Crusaders)
Italy: Edoardo Lerna (Woodrush), Angelo Ricci (Queensbury), Ludovico Torreggiani (Nafit XIII), Marco Ferrazzano (Unattached), Jason Dubas Fisher (Leeds Akkies), Matthew Sands (Lyon), Paul Stanica (Nafit XIII), Daniele Pasqualini (Mastini XIII), Filippo Veronese La (Rocca XIII), John Grasso Amatory (Catania), Pier Luigi Gentile (Piemonte XIII), Nicola Facco (Nafit XIII), Roccaro Marco (Carpentras), Florian Anchisi (Entraigues), Greg Brincat (Randwick), Shane Pavan (Unattached), Mark Dalle Cort (Unattached), Franco Kmet (West Tigers), Cameron Ciraldo (Newcastle), Ben Falcone (Balmain)
Lebanon: Liam Ayoub (Bulldogs SG Ball), Steven Azzi (Sydney Roosters), Danny Barakat (Bankstown City Bundaberg Red Cup), Danny Chiha (Windsor NSW Cup), Jamie Clarke (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ghassan Dandach (Jounieh RLFC Bank of Beirut Championship), Khaled Deeb (Newtown Jets), Youssef l Helou (Jounieh RLFC Bank of Beirut Championship) Ahmad Ellaz (Cronulla Sharks), Robin Hachache (LAU Immortals Bank of Beirut Championship), Wael Harb (Wolves RLFC Bank of Beirut Championship), Jad Hashem (LAU Immortals Bank of Beirut Championship) John Koborsi (Wentworthville Bundaberg Red Cup), Josh Mansour (South Sydney Toyota Cup), George Ndaira (Newcastle Knights), Reece Robinson (North Sydney Bears NSW Cup), Travis Robinson (Chester Hill), Adnan Saleh (Bankstown City Bundaberg Red Cup) Chris Salem (Bankstown City Bundaberg Red Cup), Allen Soultan (Wests Magpies)
Scotland: Jamie Benn (Cas Panthers), John Steele (Featherstone), Kevin Henderson (Wakefield), Mick Nanyn (Leigh), James Nixon (Barrow), Brendon Lindsay (Sheffield), Gareth Moore (Gateshead), Mitch Stringer (Sheffield), Ben Fisher (Hull KR), Neil Lowe (Hunslet), Richard Fletcher (Whitehaven), Alex Szostak (Sheffield), Lee Paterson (Widnes), Paddy Coupar (Workington), John Cox (Edinburgh Eagles), Andrew Henderson (Gateshead), Dave Arnott (Scotland Students), Mark Dack (Gateshead) Rob Lunt (Workington), John Duffy (Widnes), Iain Morrison (Widnes)
Serbia: Soni Radovanovic (Whitehaven), Dalibor Vukanovic (RK Dorcol), Stevan Stevanovic (RK Dorcol), Mario Milosavljevic (R13K Podbara), Austen Novakovic (Oldham), Milan unjara (RK Dorcol), Nenad Grbic (R13K Podbara), Zoran Peic (R13K Podbara), Vladan Kikanovic (RK Dorcol), Milan Radojevic (South Sunnybank), Dejan Lukenic (RK Dorcol), Nika Unkovic (RK Dorcol), Vuk Tvrdiic (RK Dorcol), Dimitris Dajc (RK Dorcol), Ivan unjara (RK Beogradski Univerzitet), Aleksandar Sic (R13K Ni), Ivan Djordjevic (RLK Crvena Zvezda), Milo Milanko (RK Dorcol), Filip Brkic (RK Dorcol), Marko ebeljan (R13K Podbara)
Wales: M Barron (Gateshead), A Bateman (Crusaders), A Blackwood (Crusaders), N Budworth (Crusaders), G Davies (Crusaders), R Divorty (Featherstone), G Dudson (Crusaders), B Flower (Crusaders), R Griffiths (Warrington), J James (Crusaders), E Kear (Crusaders), C Kopzcak (Bradford), L Mills (Crusaders), C Roets (Bridgend), I Watson (Leigh), I Webster (Central Comets), L White (Crusaders), L Williams (Crusaders), R Williams (Warrington)
EUROPEAN CUP GROUP ONE
Game 1: Oct 17th Italy 0 – Scotland 104, Location – Padua, Italy, Crowd – 2,139
Game 2: Oct 24th Lebanon 86 – Italy 0, Location – Tripoli, Lebanon
Game 3: Oct 31st Scotland 22 – Lebanon 10, Location – Anniesland, Glasgow, Scotland
Group One Final Table
EUROPEAN CUP GROUP TWO
Game 1: Oct 17th Ireland 82 – Serbia 0, Location – Limerick, Ireland
Game 2: Oct 24th Serbia 8 – Wales 88 Location – Belgrade, Serbia
Game 3: Nov 1st Wales 42 – Ireland 12, Location – Bridgend, Wales
Group Two Final Table
EUROPEAN CUP FINALS DAY
European Cup Finals Day, Nov 8th Italy 42 – Serbia 14, Location – Bridgend, Wales
Nov 8th Lebanon 40 – Ireland 16, Location – Bridgend, Wales
Nov 8th Wales 28 – Scotland 16, Location – Bridgend, Wales
European Cup Champions: Wales