Serbian coach Marko Jankovic has selected a 32-man train-on squad, in the build up to the RLEF European Shield 2012/13 beginning its reverse fixtures.
Before the start of the tournament, Jankovic put together a 26-man squad drawn from five clubs Now, a year later, 12 sides are represented reflecting the current expansion underway in the country.
"We started this year's selection process on 17th February with the idea of local clubs nominating some of their emerging players," explained the former army officer. "That raised the competition for each place in the squad because along with the players we already knew, a lot of newcomers proved that they were ready for the national team."
Twelve debutants - Mihailo Bošković (Dorćol), Marko Ćuk (Military Academy), Tomica Kostić (Morava Cheetahs), Ilija Tintor (Novi Beograd), Nik Ramišvili, Igor Vratnjan (Podbara), Miloš Djurković, Mile Podkoljnjak (Radnički NP), Dragan Vasiljević (Red Star), Strahinja Jevtić, Nemanja Petrović, Filip Stošić (Soko Vranje) - have been named, with Vasiljević, Ramišvili, Petrović and Stošić graduates from the Serbia U18s.
Jankovic explained, "In the next four weeks we will organise trial games to gauge everyone's form and at the culmination of that period, in the Risman Cup game, we'll have a pretty good idea of a selection that we can count on."
Serbia's preparation included a series of training camps and the traditional Origin games between Belgrade and Serbia Country. Country won the first clash and have been rewarded with 22 members selected for the national team squad - almost a complete reversal compared to just two years ago. The second contest in the series is on 4th May.
A week later Lancashire Police tour Serbia, giving Jankovic one final chance to piece together his 20 man squad for two Shield matches on consecutive weekends against Germany and then Russia. Serbia lost to both by a single point in 2012.
"It's well known that there are no friendly games in rugby nor can you play defensively, like in football," continued Jankovic. "We could have tried to hide some trump cards, but this would be completely irrelevant as the Germans, Russians and Serbians all know just how good the other is."
SERBIA TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Nenad Radević, Miloš Zogović (Car Lazar), Mihailo Bošković, Mirko Božović, Ivan Mitić, Stefan Nedeljković, Stevan Stevanović, Dalibor Vukanović (Dorćol), Danilo Delić, Zoran Pešić (Lyon FC), Marko Ćuk, Radovan Tajsić (Military Academy), Tomica Kostić (Morava Cheetahs), Lazar Živković (Niš), Ilija Tintor (Novi Beograd), Nik Ramišvili, Igor Vratnjan (Podbara), Nemanja Božić, Miloš Djurković, Mile Podkoljnjak, Slaviša Zekić (Radnički NP), Miloš Ćalić, Vladislav Dedić, Vojislav Dedić, Ivan Djordjević, Vladica Nikolić, Velibor Srećković, Dragan Vasiljević (Red Star), Strahinja Jevtić, Nemanja Petrović, Filip Stošić (Soko Vranje), Zlatko Pešić (Vojvoda Pančevo)
18th May 2013 - Serbia v Germany
25th May 2013 - Serbia v Russia
P W L D F A PD PTS
2 Russia 3 3 0 85 64 21 6
1 Italy 3 1 2 0 108 66 42
3 Serbia 3 1 2 0 68 64 4
4 Germany 3 1 2 0 61 128 -67
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