By Phil Caplan, Date: 24/3/14
The Rugby League European Federation has released the 2014 European Championship C fixtures with the Czech Republic, Greece and Malta all set to play one another for the first time.
The competition is the successor to the European Bowl and is linked to Euro B with Ukraine, the 2013 Bowl winners, gaining promotion last year.
Malta, ranked 14th in Europe will start as favourites, with players of the calibre of Wakefield’s Super League star Jarrod Sammut to call on.
Their captain Chris Parker said, “It’s going to be great to lead out Malta for the fourth season. We can’t wait to play some new opposition in Greece and the Czech Republic. Both the domestic-based players and those playing overseas are looking forward to linking up again in preparation.”
2011 and 2012 Bowl winners, the Czech Republic, will enter with a new national team head coach, Vrchlabi’s David Lahr taking over from Andy Mulhall. The Czech board’s focus is to improve the standard of the domestic competition and, as a consequence, the national team.
“In the past the national team had been selected with short preparation,” explained Lahr. “Nowadays we want to focus on long-term development of the national team squad. A number of training days have been built into our season fixtures. We are investing time and effort into talented youth.”
Newcomers Greece played a first official Test in Budapest last year and have come a long way in a short space of time with the inaugural five-team Greek Rugby League Championship scheduled to end in May, a month before the national team travels across the Mediterranean to kick off the tournament in Malta.
“All those involved with the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League are very excited that we are entering the official international scene,” said federation president Tasos Pantazidis. “The European Championship C will be both a challenge and motivation to our athletes, coaches and staff to become better. Improvement is our aim and the competition will offer us that potential.”
2014 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP C – Schedule
Malta v Greece – 28 June, Pembroke
Czech Republic v Malta – 12 July, Havlichkuv Brod
Greece v Czech Republic – 11 October, Athens