A hat trick of tries from outstanding centre Joran Schoenmaker – the second a sensational solo effort – saw Netherlands claim the Euro D Championship, with a 36-10 win over Czechia at the Huseyin Akar Tesisler Stadium in Bodrum, Turkey.
The Orange Lions led 14-0 at the break, Auke Idzerda having kicked three early penalties, and though Czechia admirably kept going to the end with two consolation tries, Netherlands not only win promotion to Euro B but continue on the Rugby League World Cup 2025 qualifying road.
Head coach Kane Krlic, who is standing down after five years in charge, paid tribute to his side. “That showed a lot of what Dutch rugby league is about,” he said. “Working hard for each other, I’m just really proud. Now that we are increasing the domestic competition, this team is only going to get stronger and I can’t wait to see the growth. These lads love representing the country and love the sport as well.”
Second-half tries from Shaden Lavia, winger Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz pouncing a loose ball, and rangy back-rower Daniel De Ruiter put Netherlands 30 points up, but Czechia stand-off Daniel Veselý led a late revival taking a fine offload to snipe over and converting Black Angels Hodonín’s Tomas Kasik’s score, before Schoenmaker completed his treble.
“We lost our captain and hooker Tomáš Řičica early on and we made a lot of mistakes, so in the first half we were only defending,” said Czechia head coach David Lahr, for whom Jan Hovard was a standout. “To lose in the final, I am very proud of this very young squad.”
The Netherlands, with Den Haag Knights prop Bonne Wilce also outstanding, were presented with the trophy by officials from the Bodrum Municipality, who supported the Championship, and the French Consul General.
Laury Renac, Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz, Joran Schoenmaker, Edson Neves, Isaacs Ngirubiu, Auke Idzera, Ben Dommershuijsen, Mauricio Gomez Pazos, Paul Dirkzwager, Bonne Wilce, Daniel De Ruiter, Paul Kuijpers, Frank Longhurst
Subs (all used): Lucas Gout, Shadan Lavia, Romeo Goldman, Adam Braksator
Tries: Schoenmaker (8, 22, 77), Lavia (44), Razoux Schultz (53), De Ruiter (60)
Goals: Idzera 6/9
Matěj Greenwood, Martin Kubát, Tomáš Kasík, Filip-Daniel Kittl, Antonín Berk, Daniel Veselý, Jakub Hudrlík, Jan Říha, Tomáš Řičica, David Bělohlávek, Taras Turkevyč, Jan Hovard, Ondřej Preininger
Subs (all used): Josef Chuchlík, Erik Schulz, Josef Brynda, Jan Pecháček
Tries: Veselý (64), Kasík (72)
Goals: Veselý 1/2
Half time: 14-0
Referee: Eamonn Whelan (Ireland)
In the match for third place and world ranking points, hosts Turkey were too strong in the second half for Malta, winning 36-12, in 27 degree heat and in front of a partisan crowd that included professional Aiden Sezer, part of the Turkish staff, who flew in for the game.
The sides were level at the break, but with no available substitutes Malta struggled to contain the home pack in the second period. Turkey posted seven tries, all from different scorers, scrum-half Behzad Bayram finishing with 12 points and Kadiköy Bulls’ Doruk Çeliktutan, returning from an early sin-binning, breaking the deadlock after the interval.
Julien Treu, Turkey head coach commented: “We are very happy with the result. We had to refocus after the loss to the Netherlands on Thursday and we had the right attitude to finish this tournament on a good, positive note. We want more international games, we showed that we can host and we want to reach a higher level soon, the guys are keen and we have a strong team on and off the pitch.”
Excellent prop Dean Zammit collected Zarrin Galea’s kick for Malta’s first score on the half-hour, hooker Robin Cutajar following him over four minutes later in a spirited overall effort.
“I cannot fault the efforts of our players,” Malta head coach Roderick Attard noted. “We had guys who were injured playing the full 80 minutes, they gave their all and it was not a walk in the park for the Turks so I am proud of them.”
Miraç Ertürk, Can Günersu, Eren Kemal Şen, Errol Carter, Batuhan Balçin, Ozan Işik, Behzad Bayram, Alperen Kademli, Oğuzhan Demir, Çağas Çiçek, Oğuzhan Tirendez, Mert Tayyar Berktav, Doruk Çeliktutan
Subs (all used): Ahmet Tarik Tekin, Kemal Ege Gürkan, Yusuf Can Tunç, Ömer Faruk Pir
Tries: Demir (2), Işik (12), Çeliktutan (42), Bayram (46), Balçin (52), Tayyar Berktav (63), Tirendez (79)
Goals: Bayram 4/7
Sin bin: Çeliktutan (6 – dangerous tackle)
Mark Cammilleri, James Grech, Christian Briffa, Cameron Brown, Jean-Pierre Zarb, Karl Cassar, Zarrin Galea, Jeremy Dela, Robin Cutajar, Dean Zammit, Alfie Jewitt, Russell Bugeja, Justin Barlogio
Sub (used): Justin Farrugia
Tries: Zammit (29), Cutajar (33)
Goals: Galea 2/2
Half time: 12-12
Referee: Jarda Bzoch (Czechia)
Czechia and Netherlands win opening matches in Rugby League Euro D
The final of the Euro Championship D on Sunday will feature Czechia – after they defeated Malta 40-16 in the opening game, and Netherlands – who beat hosts Turkey 40-18, in a double-header at the Huseyin Akar Tesisler Stadium in Bodrum.
Over 500 fans watched the matches which both saw dominant second-half displays by the victors.
The opening encounter was marred by a compound leg fracture to Czech substitute Jiří Pecina in the 16th minute soon after he came on from the bench, which led to a 30-minute delay as he was treated, and it was injuries to a number of Maltese players that ultimately cost them.
“Our first half was horrible,” said Czechia head coach David Lahr. “We started really badly and then lost one of our best players to injury. We wish him well and hope that it is not the end of his career and dedicate the win to him. In the second half we started to get more control around the ruck and that was what we needed. I’m really proud because we only used domestic players and that is the best for us.”
Malta led 16-0 with only 25 minutes gone, scrum-half Zarrin Galea from Redcliffe Dolphins with a try and two goals, but two Czechia touchdowns in six minutes after half time swung the match, scrum-half Jakub Hudrlík ending with 20 points thanks to two tries and six goals; Chrudim Rabbitohs hooker Tomáš Řičica also with a brace.
Malta head coach Roderick Attard noted: “We are very disappointed especially as we were leading early on but our squad is small and that told as we had no one left on the bench. It was a team effort to finish the game and everybody contributed as best they could.”
Zwolle centre Joran Schoenmaker’s second try, a fine solo effort a minute from the break, combined with Thomas Farrell’s first of two four-pointers a minute after it, gave the Netherlands the impetus for victory. Scrum-half Auke Idzera was perfect with the boot, landing six conversions and two penalties, in a convincing performance.
“We came in as underdogs but now we’re on to the final,” said Netherlands head coach Kane Krlic. “All of our players are from the domestic competition and that’s extremely important to us. Growing that is still the main focus and this is the reward for staying loyal to those players.”
Turkey responded well to going 12 points down, hooker Oğuzhan Demir with a fine try and ended the scoring, head coach Julien Treu feeling that his side showed plenty of promise. “We worked hard but made too many mistakes and gave away a lot of penalties in the first half,” he commented. “Fair play to the Netherlands, they played very well but we have confidence for the ranking match with Malta and are going all out for a win on home soil.”
Tomáš Horák, Martin Kubát, Roman Richtr, Filip-Daniel Kittl, Antonín Berk, Matěj Greenwood, Jakub Hudrlík, Jan Říha, Tomáš Řičica, David Bělohlávek, Taras Turkevyč, Jan Hovard, Ondřej Preininger
Subs (all used): Daniel Veselý, Jiří Pecina, Tomáš Kasík, Josef Chuchlík
Tries: Bělohlávek (30), Preininger (42), Řičica (46, 70), Hudrlík (62, 67), Horák (73)
Goals: Hudrlík 6/7
Mark Camilleri, Jean Scholey, Cameron Brown, Alfie Jewitt, Shan Francois Hussain, Christian Briffa, Zarrin Galea, Dean Zammit, Robin Cutjar, Jeremy Dela, Russell Bugeja, Jean-Pierre Zarb, Justin Barlogio
Subs (all used): Justin Farrugia, James Grech, Auden Denicoli
Tries: Scholey (5), Barlogio (10), Galea (25),
Goals: Galea 2/3
Sin bin: Barlogio (39 – late challenge)
Half time: 6-16
Referee: Aris Dardamanis (Greece)
Miraç Ertürk, Selçuk Cömert, Behzad Bayram, Errol Carter, Batuhan Balçin, Ozan Işik, Kemal Ege Gürkan, Alperen Kademli, Oğuzhan Demir, Ahmet Tarik Tekin, Oğuzhan Tirendez, Mert Tayyar Berktav, Doruk Çeliktutan
Subs (all used): Rama Kabak, Taner Burak, Yusuf Can Tunç, Ömer Faruk Pir
Tries: Demir (25), Ertürk (30), Çeliktutan (78)
Goals: Bayram 3/3
Laury Renac, Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz, Joran Schoenmaker, Thomas Farrell, Isaacs Ngirubiu, Ben Dommershuijsen, Auke Idzera, Mauricio Gomez Pazos, Paul Dirkzwager, Bonne Wilce, Daniel De Ruiter, Paul Kuijpers, Frank Longhurst
Subs (all used): Lucas Gout, Edson Neves, Adam Braksator, Shadan Lavia
Tries: Shoenmake (9, 39), Ngirubiu (20), Farrell (41, 55), Renac (73)
Goals: Idzera 8/8
Half time: 12-20
Referee: Eamonn Whelan (Ireland)