Norway and Germany have named their 19-man squads for the final game in European Championship C – North, in Porsgrunn tomorrow (Saturday), which doubles up as the next stage of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers.
The ultimate victors will face the winners of European Championship C – South, on neutral territory, most likely in spring 2019.
Germany are in pole position thanks to a stunning 24-4 win over the Czech Republic in Osnabrück late last month, needing to take a point from Norway who were defeated 20-12 in Vrchlabi.
“Without a doubt this is the most important match in RL Norge’s short history,” said head coach Dave Hunter.
“All the players have been putting in the hard work to ensure we give ourselves a chance of proceeding to the next round of RLWC qualifying. We realise that we are the underdogs and that we’ll need to be at our very best if we’ve a chance to win.”
Kristian Nordin-Skipnes has flown in from winning a title with Woden Valley Rams in Canberra to bolster the home line up.
According to Germany co-head coach Simon Cooper: “We are expecting a tough physical challenge from the Norwegians, just like we experienced from the Czechs. If we don’t show them the respect they deserve, we risk losing and potentially missing out on progressing to the next stage. It means even more being involved in the World Cup Qualifiers and part of a competition that has so much history.”
Swinton’s Brad Billsborough, man of the match against the Czechs, will again captain the side in the absence of injured Mawuli Amefia.
NORWAY 19-MAN SQUAD : Bendik Kalvik, (Bodø Barbarians), Harald Mikalsen, Kristoffer Milligan (Flekkefjord Tigers), Sonny Mellor, Joshua William Skidmore-Hornby (Lillestrøm Lions), Isaac Schmidt, (Oslo Capitals), Kevin Båtnes, Nils Kristian Holte, Chris Stalsberg, (Porsgrunn Pirates), Kristian Hilton (Saddleworth Rangers), Kim Andre Seglem, (Sandnes Raiders), Kristoffer Borsheim, Nathan Cummins, Ezra McIntyre, Fredrik Nortun (Stavanger Storm), Ole Magnus Brekk, Frank Kiriinya, Simon Viljoen, (Trondheim Rugby Klubb), Kristian Nordin-Skipnes (Woden Valley Rams).
GERMANY 19-MAN SQUAD : Andrew Hoggins (Coventry Bears), Martin Apostel, Benedikt Esser, David Ziekursch, Marc Zupan (Green Hill Hunters), Connor Hampson (Halifax), Karsten Brüning, Renko Fleming, Jannek Hagenah, (Karlshoefen Moorteufel), Liam Doughton, Josh Leutenecker, Sebastian Peter, Vivi Seelweger, Phil Wadewitz (Ruhrpott Rhinos), Brad Billsborough (Swinton Lions), Zak Bredin, Phil Hunz, Max Keller, George Wood (Westfalen Warriors).