The Ukrainian Federation of Rugby League has named a strong train-on squad ahead of the their defence of their European Championship C crown, which begins at the end of the month in Malta in the Southern section. The competition – which also features Greece in their pool, before a play-off against the winners from the North – doubles as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Coach Gennadiy Vepryk has put his faith in a tight-knit group largely comprising of players who are gaining experience at English community club Milford Marlins in the National Conference League, and Ukrainian champions Legion XIII Giants. Three other domestic clubs – Kiev Rhinos, Lviv Tigers and Wests Knights from Rivne supply players following the UFRL’s twinning arrangement with various Super League clubs.
The governing body are not looking to include heritage players.
“We are confident of achieving positive results in the games against Malta and Greece and preparation is in full swing,” said Vepryk. “We are not inviting players with passports from other countries to the team and we never have. We are more concerned about developing the sport here. Everyone is ready to fight for victory.”
Ukraine has not played a full international since October 2016 and has never lost at this level. This will be the first time they face either Malta or Greece.