Turkey will face Ukraine this Saturday (31 August) at the Beylerbeyi Stadium, Istanbul to determine the eighth nation to play in the 2020 U19s European Championship (kick off 3pm).
The winners will head to Lignano Sabbiadoro in Italy to join the hosts, France, England, Wales, Scotland, Serbia and Ireland from 3–13 September next year.
Turkey RLA have run training camps in Eskisehir, Ankara and Istanbul in preparation, and their selected squad represents ten domestic clubs.
“The U19 European Championship is a big stage for us and qualification for the main event would be a huge step,” said U19 head coach, Kemal Ege Gurkan. “Whatever the result, we aim to create a team that will be embraced. This is likely to be the generation that will represent Turkey at higher international levels, as seniors, and they need to start their story by winning hearts in this campaign.”
Rugby League in Turkey has grown steadily, with more than 15 men’s and women’s teams now competing, encompassing around four hundred senior players, with their leading side, Kadikoy Bullls, reaching the semi finals of the Balkan Super League.
“We are actively encouraging more young players aged between 16-19, making their first steps in the sport,” added Gurkan.
Team Manager Oytun Colok noted: “Turkey is a country with a young population. We prepare our young players for international matches mentally, physically and technically and are creating a genuine brotherhood.”
Their Ukrainian counterparts have played two games in Serbia as part of their build up, defeating Serbia U19s ‘A’ 44-0, and the full Serbian U19s side, 32-10; both games at the SC Inge stadium in Belgrade.
President of the Ukraine Federation of Rugby League, Artur Martyrosian, commented: “One of the aims of our Federation is to grow this sport to the highest level, so participation of our senior and junior national teams at European Championship level is a very important pointer. We really want to take a part in the full U19s European Championship next year.”
Lviv contribute seven players to the Ukrainian squad, which is made up of players from six domestic clubs.
The match can be seen via livestream at: https://www.facebook.com/events/355554695368339/?ti=icl
TURKEY U19 SQUAD : Kaan Baran Çetiner (Ankara Phrygians), Burak Özkan, Seyit Ülker, Burakcan Yermez, Mert Yıldırım, (Aqua Rugby), Mustafa Efe (Avcı), Eymen Agdas (Badgers), Alperen Güneş (Eskişehir Çamlıca sk), Doruk Terzi (İzmir Owls), Caner Ark, Kerim Cömert, Eyüp Ensar Das, Ramazan Tomruk (Kandira Akçakoca sk), Oğuz Ergen, Deniz Küçük, Yusuf Can Tunç (Kadıköy Bulls), Canberk Demirci, Batuhan Köse, Alperen Yaman (Olimpos), Presley Cochrane-Salman (Western City Tigers)
UKRAINE U19 SQUAD : Ivan Kapustiak, Maksym Shevchuk (Burevіsnik), Oleksandr Slizovskyi (Dnipro), Vitalii Puchkov (Legion XIII), Orest Adamyk, Daniil Hapon, Yurii Kolosovskyi, Rostyslav Kovalyshyn, Danylo Kozak, Oleh Kunynets, Ihor Vashcuk (Lviv Tigers), Vitalii Boichuk, Andrii Ivaniuk, Taras Splavnyk (Stanislaviv), Vadym Polishchuk, Oleksandr Rozhko, Danylo Vedler (West Giants)