The latest game in European Championship C – South takes place on Saturday when Greece travel to Dinamo Stadium, Kharkov to face Ukraine. The matches form part of qualifying for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, and the hosts – who have yet to be beaten at this level – are attempting to build on their 34-22 win over Malta in Marsa at the end of June.
“It’s an historic moment for us, from this game depends our way to RLWC2021 and that is our aim,” said UFRL president Artur Martyrosian. His head coach Gennady Veprik added: “Our opponent is a strong team but we have had a good preparation to this game, so we believe. We so want to be at the World Cup so we are ready to show our best game.”
Greece will feature in their first international for 2018 but have injury worries. Head coach Michail Chatziioannou admitted that it was not the ideal preparation with some players also unable to take time off work forcing the squad to be changed numerous times.
“Many of the players haven’t played in a while and getting a team together has been difficult,” he said. “The summer period is peak season for many players with their work commitments, we have had to bring in 35-year-old Andreas Antonopoulos into the squad.”
Mitchell Zampetides is also on hand to cover the injury crisis should one of the players fail the medical, and Nikolaos Kourkakis answered an SOS call to fly from Sweden to play, Seven of the squad are from champions Rhodes Knights.
Greece skipper Jordan Meads played down the injuries, instead focussing on the task ahead. “We will have 17 players that will be proud to put on the Greek jersey. That experience alone will be a big moment for them,” he added.
UKRAINE 19-MAN SQUAD
Mykola Shalaev (Girnyk, Kryvyi Rig), Anatolii Hrankovskyi, Dmytro Semerenko, Ihor Yurkin, Sviatoslav Andrieichenko, (Legion XIII – Giants, Kharkiv), Bohdan Veprik, Mykhailo Troian, Oleksandr Kozak, Oleksandr Shcherbyna, Oleksandr Skorbach, Oleksandr Syvokoz, Yevhenii Trusov (Milford Marlins, England), Andriy Shakura, Dmytro Kaevych, Dmytro Serheiev (Rhinos, Kyiv), Mykhailo Pavliv, Ostap Hryshchenko (Sokil – Tigers, Lviv), Vadym Polukhovych, Volodymyr Radchyk (West Knights, Rivne)
Greece 19-MAN SQUAD
Ioannis Rousoglou (Aris), Robert Tuliatu (Asquith), Nikolaos Kourkakis, Eugeniu Malai, Ioannis Nake (Attica Rhinos), Stefanos Bastas (Hemel Stags), Jordan Meads (Kawana), Sebastian Sell (Mittagong), Andreas Antonopoulos, Anastasios Kladas, Konstantinos Koutras (Patras), Michail Bosmos, Nikolaos Bosmos, Dimosthenis Kartsonakis, Konstantinos Katsidonis, Panteleimon Tsattalios, Komninos Tsavaris, Alavaro Zota (Rhodes Knights), Terence Constantinou (Sunbury)