The Czech Republic registered only its second-ever win at full international level, six years after their first, defeating Belgium 14-4 in Tis, and levelling the two-match series following their 50-12 defeat in Brussels in April.
New, young Czech coach Ladislav Cintler was pleased with his side’s discipline and organisation which contributed to the victory against a side 12 places higher in the world rankings. “Our young players stood up well, none more so than man-of-the-match Filip-Daniel Kitttle. The 17-year-old Teplice Dragons wing made several line-breaks and was strong in defence,” he said.
“We are delighted with the win against such formidable opponents,” added Cintler, who took over from David Lahr this year. “We prepared well for this one with a large train-on squad which shows the growing depth of the sport here.”
The Czechs fielded eight debutants but relied on veteran hooker Petr Sedina who scored the opening try in the 16th minute and finished with ten points.
Just before the break Sedina was adjudged to have been held up over the try line and, after another period of pressure by the hosts, the 35-year-old added a penalty goal to give them an 8-0 advantage.
Belgium started the second half well and a superb pass by Bryan Amerlynck set up Zakaria Zoubir, who missed the conversion. More Czech pressure then resulted in a try on debut for Pavel Mikeska, the Mikulov Roosters winger set up in the corner by Surrey Sharks prop Jiri Novak.
On 58 minutes another line-break by Michal Pecha, on his home ground, was stopped by a high tackle, Sedina kicking the resulting penalty.
Belgian Rugby League Association boss Yves Kazadi said, “It was a great confrontation in what has been an excellent international season for us. We had the opportunity to test some new local players and they responded to the challenge.”
The Czech Republic’s only previous full international victory was against Germany in 2009.
CZECH REPUBLIC 14
Filip Spacek, Filip-Daniel Kittl, Jan Hovard, Otto Freidl, Pavel Mikeska, Tomáš Řičica, Vladimir Mach, Pavel Pavlik, Petr Sedina, Michal Pecha, Jiri Novak, Milan Pesout, Jan Heininger
Subs: Pavel Majestrik, Tomas Nemecek, Petr Franta, Ondrej Preninger
Tries: Sedina (16), Mikeska (52)
Goals: Sedina 3
Simon Troquereau, Kamal Singh, Martin Derom, Abdelouahid Zigha, Karim Hammadat, Brian Amerlynck, Zakaria Zoubir, Sofian El Hilali, Marco Moraschi, Stanislas Salongo, Adam Bahamou, Younes Hammadat, Jonathan Bouillon
Subs: Nicolas Hundziak, Loic Delval, Christophe Weynenberghe, Yves Kazadi
Try: Zoubir (43)
Man of the match: Filip-Daniel Kitttle
Half time: 8-0
Referee: Matt Smith (Australia)