As part of the 120th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Rugby League in Huddersfield in 1895, Serbia will play Ireland at the Makiš Stadium, Belgrade on Saturday 29 August, the exact date of the formation of the Northern Union.
The nations could well face each other in next year’s 2017 World Cup European Qualifiers, the Serbians having earned a place by currently leading European championship B, which they are looking to win when they travel to Ukraine on 12 September.
After visiting France in May, hosting Ireland will be another test for the Serbians against a leading European side.
Serbian coach Marko Janković is relishing the opportunity. “We are fortunate to get a chance to host such a big opponent in the wake of European championship B finale. It will be a massive test for us and we are hoping for a big crowd. Getting Ireland to come to Belgrade is a confirmation of our hard work and progress that we have made.”
The game will be preparation for the Irish before the start of the 2015 European Championship against Wales, Scotland and France, these two nations last meeting for the sole time in the first round of the European Cup in October 2009, the Wolfhounds winning comfortably.
“RLI is really looking forward to the challenge of Serbia,” noted Rugby League Ireland director, Richard Egan.
“It is a great opportunity for our domestic-based players. Serbia has seen massive growth and excellent development which we have watched with interest and congratulate everyone involved on their achievements.
“This game will continue our progression after our recent win over Belgium and leads us into an away fixture against Malta the following week. These matches help our players grow but also helps the game in Ireland grow and we are already planning to return the compliment of the Serbians and host them next year.”