England Lionhearts (North West) were triumphant in the four nation Belgrade Trophy for U18s, beating hosts Serbia in the final.
The English select won 46-4 at FC Radniki, with Lebanon taking third place after defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Vitez.
“We brought a developing team of youngsters and it was just the right tournament for them and for the region here,“ said Lionhearts tour manager Stuart Prior. “Our sport is growing and we need more countries to emerge and this kind of tournament makes us all stronger.”
Lionhearts ran in 11 tries in Friday’s semi final against and eight more in the decider; scrum half Callum Topping ended with 28 points overall and Todd Fewlon, the leading try scorer, posted four.
Serbian coach Admir Hadžić noted: “When you lose you can’t be happy but if we want to progress our kids, we have to match it against better sides so it has been very valuable for us.“
Lebanon ended on a high, winning the play-off game against novices Vitez, after a disapointing loss to Serbia on Friday in the semis. “We were annoyed with the way we lost against the hosts but the most important thing was a chance to compete against qulity sides which helps us grow as a team,“ commented their head coach Nayef Abi-Said.
The Belgrade Trophy was a first tournament experince for the Vitez squad, which has only been in existence a year. Their coach Dado Vrebac acknowledged that there is a lot of hard work ahead.
“We defnitely are not up to this level yet, but we are going to train hard and take maximum lessons from these two games. The boys have been enthused being involved,” he said.