By Phil Caplan, Date: 26/4/13
Serbian coach Marko Jankovic has selected a 32-man train-on squad, in the build up to the RLEF European Shield 2012/13 beginning its reverse fixtures.
Before the start of the tournament, Jankovic put together a 26-man squad drawn from five clubs Now, a year later, 12 sides are represented reflecting the current expansion underway in the country.
â€œWe started this yearâ€™s selection process on 17th February with the idea of local clubs nominating some of their emerging players,â€ explained the former army officer. â€œThat raised the competition for each place in the squad because along with the players we already knew, a lot of newcomers proved that they were ready for the national team.â€
Twelve debutants – Mihailo BoÅ¡koviÄ‡ (DorÄ‡ol), Marko Ä†uk (Military Academy), Tomica KostiÄ‡ (Morava Cheetahs), Ilija Tintor (Novi Beograd), Nik RamiÅ¡vili, Igor Vratnjan (Podbara), MiloÅ¡ DjurkoviÄ‡, Mile Podkoljnjak (RadniÄki NP), Dragan VasiljeviÄ‡ (Red Star), Strahinja JevtiÄ‡, Nemanja PetroviÄ‡, Filip StoÅ¡iÄ‡ (Soko Vranje) â€“ have been named, with VasiljeviÄ‡, RamiÅ¡vili, PetroviÄ‡ and StoÅ¡iÄ‡ graduates from the Serbia U18s.
Jankovic explained, â€œIn the next four weeks we will organise trial games to gauge everyoneâ€™s form and at the culmination of that period, in the Risman Cup game, weâ€™ll have a pretty good idea of a selection that we can count on.â€œ
Serbiaâ€™s preparation included a series of training camps and the traditional Origin games between Belgrade and Serbia Country. Country won the first clash and have been rewarded with 22 members selected for the national team squad â€“ almost a complete reversal compared to just two years ago. The second contest in the series is on 4th May.
A week later Lancashire Police tour Serbia, giving Jankovic one final chance to piece together his 20 man squad for two Shield matches on consecutive weekends against Germany and then Russia. Serbia lost to both by a single point in 2012.
â€œItâ€™s well known that there are no friendly games in rugby nor can you play defensively, like in football,â€ continued Jankovic. â€œWe could have tried to hide some trump cards, but this would be completely irrelevant as the Germans, Russians and Serbians all know just how good the other is.â€
SERBIA TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Nenad RadeviÄ‡, MiloÅ¡ ZogoviÄ‡ (Car Lazar), Mihailo BoÅ¡koviÄ‡, Mirko BoÅ¾oviÄ‡, Ivan MitiÄ‡, Stefan NedeljkoviÄ‡, Stevan StevanoviÄ‡, Dalibor VukanoviÄ‡ (DorÄ‡ol), Danilo DeliÄ‡, Zoran PeÅ¡iÄ‡ (Lyon FC), Marko Ä†uk, Radovan TajsiÄ‡ (Military Academy), Tomica KostiÄ‡ (Morava Cheetahs), Lazar Å½ivkoviÄ‡ (NiÅ¡), Ilija Tintor (Novi Beograd), Nik RamiÅ¡vili, Igor Vratnjan (Podbara), Nemanja BoÅ¾iÄ‡, MiloÅ¡ DjurkoviÄ‡, Mile Podkoljnjak, SlaviÅ¡a ZekiÄ‡ (RadniÄki NP), MiloÅ¡ Ä†aliÄ‡, Vladislav DediÄ‡, Vojislav DediÄ‡, Ivan DjordjeviÄ‡, Vladica NikoliÄ‡, Velibor SreÄ‡koviÄ‡, Dragan VasiljeviÄ‡ (Red Star), Strahinja JevtiÄ‡, Nemanja PetroviÄ‡, Filip StoÅ¡iÄ‡ (Soko Vranje), Zlatko PeÅ¡iÄ‡ (Vojvoda PanÄevo)
18th May 2013 â€“ Serbia v Germany
25th May 2013 â€“ Serbia v Russia