Russia, Serbia and Spain have named their initial, extended squads for October’s European Championship B, which doubles as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England. The top two nations will join Italy (the winners of Euro C) and the bottom two nations from the European Championship, in a final qualifying tournament in a year’s time.
Spain will host the opening game against the Russians, in Valencia, with Russia making their bow a week later.
“Rugby League is pretty undeveloped in Spain,” commented Alexandre Doutres, at Palau Bronco, who has been part of the Spanish national team for three years.
“It has only been a short road so far, but the implication of these games for the volunteers, leaders, players, and staff is huge. You will find few more passionate than they are, and it is thanks to their efforts that rugby league is gradually gaining in popularity in Spain. Aside from the national team, the level of the domestic players is going from strength to strength. The October matches are very important for us. It is essential for the development of our sport here that the national team should shine, and that is something that could be achieved by qualifying for a World Cup.”
Included in the Spanish squad are two French internationals with heritage, hooker Eloi Pelissier, currently with London Broncos, and Newcastle Thunder half back Remy Marginet.
The Russian squad is made up of players from ten domestic sides, four of them from the Moscow. Dynamo’s Eremin Viacheslav, who has recovered from a knee operation after last year’s finals, said: “I was very surprised by the call from head coach Denis Korolev and when I heard that I was a candidate for the Russian national, I was very happy.
“It’s a great honour. Whenever I sing the anthem I feel that I am an integral part of such a great power, and I will look to defend its honour at the world level. I cannot fall with my face into the mud.”
Serbian captain Dalibor Vukanović is anticipating a test of his country’s progress. “It is always exciting when we are starting a new qualification cycle,” he confirmed. “We have a good and experienced team, with very talented additions from our youth side which did well in the European U19 championships in Belgrade.
“Our reputation probably makes us favourites, but we highly respect Russia and Spain so will need to put in hard work if we want to progress further in these World Cup Qualifications.”
RUSSIA SQUAD : Zagoskin Nikolai, Petrushka Iustin, Bozhko Kirill, Muntian Sergei, Kosharin Kirill, Botnarash Petr, Troitskii Ivan, Abramov Igor, Lesnikov Vladislav, Tiulenev Denis, Leskov Dmitrii, Lysokon Alexandr, Naumov Alexandr, Bratko Dmitrii (CSKA Moscow), Eremin Viacheslav, Ariutkin Viktor, Kuznetsov Andrey, Danilov Ilia, Mrachkovskii Pavel, Chupin Denis (Dynamo Moscow), Chuprin Igor (Olimp Moscow), Voloskov Boris (MIFI), Konstantinov Sergei (Nara Moscow region), Zhigan Sergei (Narvskay Zastava St. Peterburg), Kuklin Anton (Nevskay Zastava St. Peterburg), Orlov Evgenii (Sparta Kostroma), Lavrushin Andrei, Perin Andrei, Kuznetsov Nikita, Tarasenkov Dmitrii, Leonov Aleksei, Shustov Egor (Spartak Moscow), Kazantsev Ivan, Gusev Vsevolod (Vityaz Perm).
SERBIA SQUAD : Danilo Delic, Nebojsa Zivanovic, Zoran Pesic (Carpentras, France), Daniel Burke (Collegians, Australia), Jason Muranka (Doncaster RLFC, UK), Aleksa Radic, Andrej Mora, Dalibor Vukanovic, Milan Avramovic, Milos Aleksic, Nikola Pesterac, Radovan Stanic, Sergej Devetak, Stefan Djordjevic, Stefan Vukanovic, Stevan Stevanovic, Veljko Stalevic, Vlada Stanic, Vuk Miladinovic (Dorcol, Serbia), Brandon Janjic (Hills Bulls, Australia), Djordje Stosic, Filip Stosic (Falcon VR, Serbia), Daniel Marjanovic (Kawana Dolphins, Australia), Jordan Grant (Mackay Cutters, Australia), Aleksandar Pavlovic (Morava’s Cheetahs, Serbia), lija Radan (Narrabeen sharks, Australia),Dario Abidinovic, Denis Bajrami, Dragan Jankovic, Dzavid Jasari, Mihajlo Stojiljkovic, Milan Ilic, Nikola Srbljanin, Pero Madzarevic, Petar Kovac, Ronaldo Bitici, Toplica Ristic, Vladimir Milutinovic, Vlado Kusic (Partisan, Serbia), Zane Bijorac (Queanbeyan Blues, Australia), Aleksandar Ilic, Dusan Kocic, Lazar Zivkovic, Marko Milenkovic, Mihajlo Jovic, Velibor Ristic (Radnicki Nis, Serbia), Atanas Trimceski, Darko Stosic, Djordje Gak, Ilija Tintor, Marko Jakovljevic, Vuk Tomic (Radnicki NBG, Serbia), Aleksandar Djordjevic, Danilo Kosanovic, Ilija Krstic, Milos Calic, Milos Zogovic, Nikola Djuric, Petar Milanovic, Predrag Keglic, Rajko Trifunovic, Slobodan Milenkovic, Stefan Nedeljkovic, Stefan Nikolic, Vladislav Dedic, Vojislav Dedic, Vuk Strbac (Red Star, Serbia), David Andjelic (St Patricks Blacktown, Australia), Veljko Stankovic (Tzar Dushan Mighty, Serbia), Vladica Nikolic (Villeneuve XIII Leopards, France), Jonathan Kress (Wentworthville Magpies, Australia), James Mirceski (Western Suburbs Magpies, Australia).
SPAIN SQUAD : Anthony Delgado (Carcassone), Antonio Puerta, Juan Mudarra, Rafael Garcia, Clement Laguerre (Custodians RL) Chris Lopez, Joss Santos (Eastmoor Dragons), Joel Laynez (Hull FC, Skirlaugh), Mathiou Griffi, Pierre Negre, Benjamin Tort, Nicolas Muñoz (Lezignan), Leandre Torres, Luc Franco, Ludovic Renu, Allan Torreilles (Limoux), Eloi Pelissier (London Broncos), Jonathan Infante (Ontinyent) Francisco Luis Perez (Mineros Peñarroya – Pueblonuevo), Remy Marginet (Newcastle Thunder), Daniel Garcia, Alex Doutres, Jordan Boudebza (Palau), Miguel Blanco-Charters (Seaton Rangers), Arnaud Barthes (St Esteve), Matias Hubert-Garcia (Stade Nantes XIII), Daniel Morales, Ruben Romero, Hadriel Mehamed, Aitor Romero, Sigfrido Ribes, Raul Simo, Miquel Tomas, Jose Manuel Santos, Vicente Cubes, Aitor Davila, Carlos Jane (Torrent Tigres), Yoan Tisserye, Romain Palleres (Toulouse Olympic), Fernando Vidal, Adriá Alonso, Carlos Font, Eric Bernabeu (Xativa Roosters) Andrew Pilkington, Miguel Olivares, Salvador Fajardo, Ruben Olivares, Erik Infante, Gonzalo Morro, Ivan Ordaz, Yeray Arbelo, Kyle Richardson (Valencian Warriors), Kevin Aparicio, Remy Bueno (Unattached).
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP B FIXTURES
|6 Oct 2018 – 15:00||Spain||Russia||Quatre Carreres, Valencia|
|13 Oct 2018 – 15:00||Russia||Serbia||Fily Stadium, Moscow|
|20 Oct 2018 – 14:00||Serbia||Spain||Makis Stadium, Belgrade|