Greece’s women and Turkey’s men were the winners after the double header at the Istanbul Technical University Stadium. The women triumphed 8-4 over Turkey in the opening game of the Euro B Championship southern group, Patras Panthers winger Velissaria Koutsioumpa with both their tries on her debut, the match decider coming five minutes from time.
Greece women’s coach Stuart McLennan said: “It’s a first win in our second game and we are all really happy. We’ve put a lot of work in over the last couple of months, brought some new players into the squad and seen the rewards. Turkey gave us a good fight, they beat us 40-4 in our first ever fixture in 2019 and we learned a lot of lessons from that and the step up needed to international level. We prepared better and look forward now to facing Serbia’s women next week back in Athens.”
The scores were level at half time, Derya Sanliturk with Turkey’s unconverted try. Turkey coach Julien Treu noted: “It was a great game, undecided until the end. We had 13 new players from last time and defended really well, but we were punished for losing the ball at the end. I expect the girls to get better for Serbia in November and the World Cup qualifiers in 2023.”
TURKEY WOMEN 4 : Ozlem Kaya, Derya Sanliturk, Gozde Gor, Aslihan Helvaci, Selin Ardal, Ecem Acıkgoz, Ece Tekin, Hafize Berin Donmez, Nurbanu Yorubulut, Elif Yilmaz, Elif Cinar, Elif Kutlu, Nazife Taskin (Subs): Meryem Savk, Tugcu Guvenc, Beyzanur Oktay, Nazlican Filiz : Try: Sanliturk (13)
GREECE WOMEN 8 Magdelini Stavrianou, Dimitra Papoutsi, Irene Daslou, Cleopatra Velmachou, Velissaria Koutsioumpa, Antonia Voikli, Sofia-Margarita Kitsaneli, Maria-Anna Lamprou, Maria Avzoti, Maria-Eleni Gkirlemi, Magdelini Stavrianou, Georgia-Fotini Koutsimpogeorgou, Ourania Koutsikou (Subs): Anna Spatharova, Asimina Mastoraki, Styliani Markou, , Chrysavgi Bakaloumi : Tries: Koutsioumpa (8, 75) Half time: 4-4 : Referee: Stefan Stamenic (Serbia)
In the subsequent men’s international, Turkey defeated Bulgaria 38-16, posting eight tries, two of them to loose forward and captain, Serhat Keles. “We had a full team of debutants and it was very exciting for us to play,” he said. “Hopefully, after this, we will have an even better structure for rugby league in the country, we are extremely grateful to our visitors for coming and playing this beautiful game.”
The hosts led 22-4 at the interval, scrum half Aras Kuyumcuyan with two tries in five minutes around the half hour mark, Bulgaria narrowing the lead just after the break when second rower Doicho Slavin crossed.
Bulgaria coach, Adrien Frigola, commented: “I am sad we lost but happy with the attitude. We had to travel for 12 hours to get here and most of the guys were playing either their first or second international game. They come and train every week and we will continue to improve with practice. We are going to surprise a lot of people and cannot wait to play Malta in Sofia on October 8. It will be a massive event for us.”
TURKEY 38 : Can Berk Uckuzular, Batuhan Duman, , Kerem Keskin, Atahan Kose, Berat Altun, Emin Erden, Aras Kuyumcuyan, Mete Sencer Gole, Ali Mert Ozbalak, Mustafa Can Aydin, Sefa Can Demir, Algan Yilmaz, Serhat Keles : (Subs): Kemal Yilmaz, Furkan Guney, Emirhan Bilek, Batuhan Kose : Tries: Kose (7), Duman (22, 63), Kuyumcuyan (28, 33), Keles (39, 59), Kose (67) : Goals: Ozbalak 3
BULGARIA 16 : Simeon Tsvetanov, Emil Savov, Veselin Peichev, Ilia Dimitrov, Amo Kehaia, Vladislav Parizov, Kostadin Debrenliev, James Mott, Tsvetan Rashev, Tinko Hristov, Mitko Atanasov, Doicho Slavin, Teodor Manchev : (Subs): Mihail Georgiev, Stilian Karchev, Stanislav Borisov, Tihomir Simenov : Tries: Dimitrov (37), Slavin (42), Atanasov (70) : Goals: Debrenliev 1, Rashev 1 : Half time: 22-4