Germany put themselves in pole position for the next phase of 2021 World Cup qualification, with a stunning win over the Czech Republic in Osnabruck, to head the European Championship C – North table.
If they take a point from Norway in Porsgrunn next month, they will face the winners of the Southern section in the next round of WC games.
Bob Doughton, president of German rugby league and co-coach of the national side commented: “It was a very tough, we had to work really hard to break down the Czech’s.”
“There was some impatience in our build up, but we now move on to Norway and it come could down to point’s difference.”
Skipper Brad Billsborough was the star, scoring one try, setting up two others and landing four goals for half his side’s points.
It took 32 minutes for the deadlock to be broken but not before each side had made clear cut chances, Germany spurning three opportunities with the last pass going begging and the visitors twice denied.
On two occasions early on the hosts created an overlap, but right winger Jannek Hagenah couldn’t reel in the scoring ball and, in the 25th minute, he was again given space out wide again but this time the Czech cover came across to bundle him in to touch.
The bigger visiting forwards looked to plough a furrow up the middle but brave German defence held them up.
Just after the half hour, Billsborough’s guile sent full back Ben Dent over for the opening try, Billsborugh goaling and missing with a drop goal attempt in the 37th minute trying to establish a two-score lead.
Billsborough took matters into his own hands five minutes after the break with a delightful try, eluding the first line of Czech defence and showing an outrageous dummy to go over, and landing the extras.
A ball steal in front of their own posts on the hour saw the Czech’s penalised and Billsborough slotted over the goal to make it 14-0 as torrential rain began to fall.
In the greasy conditions, twice the Czech’s spilt the ball coming out of their own 20, prop Connor Hampson plunging over out wide for the Germans as they capitalised.
With ten minutes to go, Oldřich Chrbolka scrambled over in the corner for the visitors to give them hope, Tomáš Řičica wide with the conversion attempt, but Germany sealed a fantastic win when Billsborough’s brilliant cut out pass sent Westfalen Warriors’ George Wood over, Billsborough goaling.
Doughton added: “Brad is 20 and we made him captain because he is a leader and has a mature head to guide the team around the field, but I was also so impressed with Phil Hunz who is only in his second season and filled in for us at loose forward where he has never played before, he was tremendous.”
Czech head coach Ladislav Cintler noted: “The game was very even but Germany made less mistakes than us,” he said. “We are getting better every year but we can improve and play smarter.”
GERMANY 24 : Ben Dent, Jannek Hagenah, George Wood, Sebastian Peter, David Ziekursch, Brad Billsborough, Marc Zupan, Connor Hampson, Liam Doughton, Sebastian Roczyn, Martin Apostel, , Josh Leutenecker, Phil Hunz : Substitutes: Karsten Brüning, Renko Fleming, Phil Wadewitz, Vivi Seelweger : Tries: Dent (32), Billsborough (60), Hampson (65), Wood (79) : Goals: Billsborough 4/5
CZECH REPUBLIC : Jan Mudroch, Oldřich Chrbolka, Antonín Berk, Filip-Daniel Kittl, Filip Špaček, Tomáš Řičica, Jakub Hudrlík, Bruno Jasiczek, Petr Šedina, Ondřej Maňák, Ondřej Preininger, Jan Heininger, Josef Maňák : Substitutes: Tomáš Adamec, Richard Gach, Lukáš Krištof, Aleš Pour : Try: Chrbolka (70) : Goal: Řičica (0/1)
Referee: Andrew Pilkington (Spain) : Half time: 6-0
Man of the match: Brad Billsborough