The latest game in European Championship C – South takes place on Saturday, when Greece travel to Dinamo Stadium, Kharkov to face Ukraine. The match is part of qualifying for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, in England, and the hosts, unbeaten as yet this level, will attempt to build on their 34-22 win over Malta in Marsa, at the end of June.
“It’s an historic moment for us,” said UFRL president, Artur Martyrosian. “The result of this game affects our progress to RLWC2021, and reaching the World Cup is our aim.”
His head coach, Gennady Veprik added: “We will be facing a strong team but we believe our preparation for this game has been good: we so want to be at the World Cup and we are ready to play our very best.”
Greece willbe featuring in their first international for 2018 but they have injury worries. Head coach Michail Chatziioannou admitted their preparation had not been ideal, with some players unable to take time off work, forcing numrous changes to the squad.
“Many of the players haven’t played in a while and getting a team together has been difficult,” he said. “The summer period is peak season for many players’ work commitments. We have had to bring a 35-year-old, Andreas Antonopoulos into the squad.”
Mitchell Zampetides will be on hand to cover an injury crisis, should one of the players fail the medical, and Nikolaos Kourkakis answered an SOS call to fly in from Sweden to play. Seven of the squad are from champions Rhodes Knights.
Greece skipper Jordan Meads, however, played down the injuries and focussed instead on Saturday’s task.
“We will have seventeen players who will be proud to put on the Greek jersey,” he said. “That experience alone will be a big moment for them.”
UKRAINE 19-MAN SQUAD : Mykola Shalaev (Girnyk, Kryvyi Rig), Anatolii Hrankovskyi, Dmytro Semerenko, Ihor Yurkin, Sviatoslav Andrieichenko, (Legion XIII – Giants, Kharkiv), Bohdan Veprik, Mykhailo Troian, Oleksandr Kozak, Oleksandr Shcherbyna, Oleksandr Skorbach, Oleksandr Syvokoz, Yevhenii Trusov (Milford Marlins, England), Andriy Shakura, Dmytro Kaevych, Dmytro Serheiev (Rhinos, Kyiv), Mykhailo Pavliv, Ostap Hryshchenko (Sokil – Tigers, Lviv), Vadym Polukhovych, Volodymyr Radchyk (West Knights, Rivne).
GREECE 19-MAN SQUAD : Ioannis Rousoglou (Aris), Robert Tuliatu (Asquith), Nikolaos Kourkakis, Eugeniu Malai, Ioannis Nake (Attica Rhinos), Stefanos Bastas (Hemel Stags), Jordan Meads (Kawana), Sebastian Sell (Mittagong), Andreas Antonopoulos, Anastasios Kladas, Konstantinos Koutras (Patras), Michail Bosmos, Nikolaos Bosmos, Dimosthenis Kartsonakis, Konstantinos Katsidonis, Panteleimon Tsattalios, Komninos Tsavaris, Alavaro Zota (Rhodes Knights), Terence Constantinou (Sunbury).