Greece and Norway have named 20-man squads for their 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifier, to be held at London Skolars’ New River Stadium (18 May, k.o.1pm). The clash will be part of a double-header with the Skolars v Doncaster, Betfred League 1 clash.
The match, a first meeting between the two nations, currently world-ranked 19th and 20th, will also determine the winners of the European Championship C, with the victors first hosting Scotland (2-3 November 2019) then travelling to Russia (9-10 November 2019) for the final European Qualifying tournament for a 2021 World Cup place, in England.
Both nations have made their final selection after warm up games. Norway played away against an Ireland XIII, and Greece held an origin clash between Athens and the rest of the country.
The Greek squad includes a player from each of the two League 1 sides featured in their line-up: Doncaster’s Stefanos Bastas and Robert Tuliatu from Skolars, with their own domestic champions (and current league leaders) Rhodes Knights supplying six players, and Aris Eagles five.
Greek coach, Jim Pizanias commented: “All the players in the squad are looking forward to the match. We know it will be tough and everyone is training really hard, knowing that a win will take us one step closer to our dream of qualifying for the World Cup.
“Our squad will go into camp in Athens on May 10th, before heading to London for one of the most important games in Greek Rugby League’s history.”
The Norwegian squad features players from eight domestic clubs, four of them from Stavanger Storm.
“The match against Greece will be the biggest game in Norway’s short history,” said head coach, Dave Hunter.
“We’ve had a couple of productive camps and a tough match against the Irish. The players took a lot out of that game and know what they have to work on.
“Whilst we’ve done well to get this far in qualifying, we are well aware that this Greek team is going to be very hard to beat, so we’ll have to be at our absolute best. We will celebrate our national day on 17th May in London, with expat Norwegians, who we hope will get along to the game the following day, to help cheer the boys on.”
Among the invited guests attending will be Norwegian Ambassador, Wegger Strømmen and transport minister, Jon Georg Dale.
GREECE 20-MAN SQUAD: Aris Dardamanis, Grigoris Koutsibogiorgos, Ioannis Dimakas, Ioannis Rousoglou, Thodoris Nianiakas (Aris Eagles), Iasonas Kourkakis, Ioannis Nake, Eugenios Malai (Attica Rhinos), Jordan Meads (Beerwah Bulldogs), Stefanos Bastas (Doncaster RLFC), Robert Tuliatu (London Skolars), Sebastian Sell (Mittagong Lions), Dimos Kartsonakis, Georgios Tsiakos, Kostas Katsidonis, Michail Bosmos, Nikos Bosmos, Pantelis Tsattalios (Rhodes Knights), Peter Mamouzelos (South Sydney), Terry Constantinou (Sunbury Tigers)
NORWAY 20-MAN SQUAD: Brett Harvey (Bardufoss Badgers), Casey Diggs, Bendik Kalvik, Sam Mullins (Bodø Barbarians), Harald Mikalsen (Flekkefjord Tigers), Sonny Mellor, Joshua Skidmore-Hornby, Lucas Zuniga (Lillestrøm Lions), Nils Kristian Holte, Kristoffer Milligan, Simon Viljoen (Oslo Capitals), Kevin Båtnes, Chris Stalsberg (Porsgrunn Pirates), Kristoffer Borsheim, Nathan Cummins, Ezra McIntyre, Fredrik Nordtun (Stavanger Storm), Callan Sinclair (Shellharbour Sharks), Stephen Stepanek Mwikaria (Trondheim Rugby Klubb), Kristian Nordin-Skipnes (Woden Valley Rams)
Early Bird Offer (up to end of April): Adults £12, Concessions £6
From May 1st onwards: Adults £15, Concessions £10
Throughout the whole period: U11’s £3 and U5’s – Free