Germany have included 15 players from their domestic league in their 19-man squad, ahead of the 2021 World Cup Qualifier with the Czech Republic in Osnabruck tomorrow (as part of European Championship C – North).
For the hosts, all four clubs who make up the Bundesliga (recently crowned champions for the first time Karlshöfen Moorteufel, Green Hill Hunters, Ruhrpott Rhinos and Westfalen Warriors) are represented, along with four heritage players: skipper Brad Billsborough, Connor Hampson, Ben Dent and George Wood, who appeared for Westfalen during the 2018 campaign.
Billsborough will take the armband, due to Mawuli Amefia’s being injured. “I am immensely proud to have been given the opportunity to captain Germany,” he said. “It is a real honour for me and my family, and I look forward to leading this talented and committed group of players against what is sure to be a tough Czech side.”
Simon Cooper, joint German national coach added: “Some players have made a round trip of over 1,200km to play in the BundesLeague, but the reward is that they are part of the first-ever German team to be involved in the World Cup Qualifiers.”
GERMANY 19-MAN SQUAD: Martin Apostel, Benedikt Esser, Sebastian Roczyn, David Ziekursch, Norman Ziwitzka, Marc Zupan (Green Hill Hunters), Connor Hampson (Halifax), Karsten Brüning, Renko Fleming, Jannek Hagenah, (Karlshöfen Moorteufel), Ben Dent (Newcastle Thunder), Liam Doughton, Josh Leutenecker, Sebastian Peter, Vivi Seelweger, Phil Wadewitz (Ruhrpott Rhinos), Brad Billsborough (Swinton Lions) Phil Hunz, George Wood (Westfalen Warriors).
For the Czechs, having won their opening match against Norway, a win tomorrow would ensure their passage to face the winners of the Southern section. “This game could be a turning point in Czech rugby league history,” commented Czech Republic’s player/coach, Ladislav Cintler.
Adding that at home, in June, this side defeated Norway 20-12 (although tomorrow they would be without June’s `man of the match’ Patrik Koliska) Cintler also noted that for this test, he had drafted-in two potential debutants, Ondřej Maňák and Bruno Jasiczek.
“This clash with Germany is our final test this year,” he said. “It is the golden point of our international season and we intend to put every effort into the match and display our best here.”
CZECH REPUBLIC 19-MAN-SQUAD: Oldřich Chrbolka, Ondřej Preininger, Tomáš Řičica (Chrudim Rabbitohs RLC), Antonín Berk, Filip-Daniel Kittl (Krupka Dragons), Lukáš Krištof, Pavel Mejstřík (Lokomotiva Beroun), Petr Šedina (Mikulov Roosters), Tomáš Adamec, Ladislav Cintler, Richard Gach, Jan Heininger, Jan Mudroch, Filip Špaček (Slavia Hradec Králové), Josef Maňák, Ondřej Maňák (Sporting Treizister Toulon Métropole), Jakub Hudrlík, Aleš Pour (Vrchlabí Mad Squirrels), Bruno Jasiczek (unattached).