By Brian Lowe, (Canada vs PNG, 2017 WRLWC. (Photo Credit: nrl.com)
Canada has kicked off its history-making dual tour of Serbia with first-up wins to both the men’s and women’s national teams.
The Wolverines were way too good for a Belgrade/Bosnian select side winning Saturday’s tour opener 78-2.
The earlier game saw the Ravens dominate the Serbian women’s national team 34-6. Both matches were played in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
As RugbyLeaguePlanet first reported in June, the Canada Rugby League Association (CRLA) had been in discussions with its Serbian counterpart to set up the historic tour.
It is understood that this is the first time ever that men’s and women’s national rugby league teams from one country have simultaneously toured another country.
“Serbia have a very strong men’s competition and growing women’s competition and they have been incredibly hospitable in giving us this opportunity,” Wolverines head coach Ben Fleming told RLP at the time the tour was announced.
“Not only do we want to really showcase our talent and activate our brand, both countries want to work with the European and international federations and grow the game.
“I also believe if we are active nationally, then it can promote grassroots growth.”
The win by the Ravens improved their short overall international record to 2-3. Prior to Saturday, their only Test victory had been against Papua New Guinea at the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup. This was their first game since the WRLWC.
For the men’s team, it was their first match since beating Chile last November in the third-place game at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup Americas region qualifiers.
Next up, the Wolverines have two Tests against Serbia. The first is scheduled for Wednesday followed by the second on Saturday, while the Ravens will play their second Test match against Serbia also on Saturday.