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Honor James

Greece (Hellenic) Rugby League (Merged threads)

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Rhodes Knights are the Greek Rugby League champions, after a successful, inaugural National Rugby League Championship season.  The islanders defeated Aris Petroupolis 46-14 in Athens, to cap a dominant season which kicked off last October.


Fittingly, the final, played in front of an enthusiastic audience, was considered the best game of the year by Hellenic Federation of Rugby League officials.  “It had it all,” said an overjoyed HFRL president, Tasos Pantazidis, “intensity, passion, power, impressive battles and suspense.”


An early Knights score was quickly cancelled out by the hosts but Rhodes, who went through the regular rounds undefeated, built pressure and Pandelis Arfaras powered over, giving his side a 10-6 lead.  Two more tries and two more Nikos Bosmos conversions made it 22-6 at the interval.


A Grigorios Koutsimpogiorgos try kept Aris in the tie but the superior ability and teamwork of the visitors saw them secure victory with four more second half touchdowns.


Greece will now prepare its national team squad to take on the Czech Republic and Malta in European Championship C.

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Well done Greece, they've grown so much in such a short space of time. As I said before, I can see them suiting RL due to their interest in other 'tough' sports. 

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Tasos Pantazidis, president of the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League and one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the sport in Greece, has expressed his great satisfaction after the completion of the first championship season, which ended with Rhodes Knights winning the grand final on the mainland.


“It was really good that we had activity all year,” said Pantazidis. “We started in October 2013 and ended at May 2014. Every two weeks we played matches. The most important thing was the fact that teams improved and, at the end of the season, all of them were playing at a higher level.”


That is poised to increase further as HFRL send six trainee coach and match official tutors to Italy in June enabling them, once they are qualified, to train their own technical staff in Greece.


“Getting use of fields and logistics was the hardest thing,” continued Pnatazidis, from Athens. “We had to wait every Thursday to see the soccer programme and then decide about the field and time for our games. That made it impossible to advertise until days before but at the final we had over 500 spectators.


“We are really happy that we managed to organise trips, to operate committees [HFRL set up Championship, Disciplinary and Arbitration committees], to have regular training sessions, and board meetings every two to three weeks.”


Five clubs competed in the first division of the National Rugby League, and three second division teams played friendlies. Next year the HFRL will play a formal second division championship with home-and-away fixtures.


“The enthusiasm of the new players was our true reward,” said Pantazidis. “All clubs really enjoyed the season. Even new clubs like Aris are now thinking about ways to get better organised in order to perform at a higher level.”


The second division final will take place on June 7, in Neapoli Lakonia when Neapoli take on Pegasus B.


Before that, at the end of May, the 9's cup will take place in Aspropyrgos.

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Four teams took part in the annual Hellenic 9s, held for the first time at the home of newcomers Pyrrihios Aspropyrgos, in Gorytsa Aspropyrgos, west of Athens.


Aris Petroupolis took the trophy with over 500 fans present to see an exciting afternoon of rugby league accompanied by a BBQ.


Aris coach, Jim Minadakis commented: “It was a tremendous achievement to win the trophy.  No one expected us, after losing to Promitheas in the third match, to dig deep into our hearts and use any energy we had left to lift the trophy - I'm very proud of all my boys.”


He added: “We can’t wait to defend it next year. In only ten months we have achieved getting to the Grand Final with Rhodes, winning a trophy and now five of our boys will travel to Malta to represent their country.”


Hellenic 9s results


Centaurs Development 14 Aris Petroupolis: 22

Pyrrihios Aspropyrgou 12 Promitheas Rendi: 12

Centaurs Development 8 Promitheas Rendi: 8

Aris Petroupolis 18 Pyrrihios Aspropyrgou: 8

Promitheas Rendi 22 Aris Petroupolis: 4

Centaurs Development 18 Pyrrihios Aspropyrgou: 0


Final: Aris Petroupolis 16 Promitheas Rendi: 10

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Neapoli Lakonia became the first Division B champions in Greece after beating Pegasus Neos Kosmos ‘B’, 28-24 on their home field in Vatika, Lakonia.


The match, played close to the ancient city of Sparta in southern Greece, drew over 600 fans, the vast majority of whom were watching rugby league for the first time in what the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League consider a public relations coup.


Afterwards, children were playing rugby league in the playgrounds and schoolyards of the town.


The home side turned in their best performance of the season, which began last November, overcoming an early Pegasus try to lead 18-12 at halftime.


Konstantinos Lambrakis, captain and founder of Neapoli, was overjoyed at the welcome given to the sport by the locals. “Although the players have little experience, we performed really well,” he said. “I strongly believe that this will be the start of a big future for our team.”


This year, the first of the Greek championship, six matches were staged in Division B on an invitational format.


Following its success, the federation has decided that next year an official B Division Championship will take place, with home and away games, involving four clubs.

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