Squad Prepares for Historic First Norwegian Youth International

Norge RL has announced the squad to play in their inaugural youth international on Sunday, when their U19s side will face up to the Serbian U18s, in Nannestad, 60km north of Oslo.

Three players are selected from the local club, Nannestad Norsemen, and Kristian Hilton is flying in from Saddleworth Rangers, in England.

“We are really looking forward to this landmark event,” said RLN Chairman, Lee Johnson.

“For the last four years we have focussed on sustainability for the clubs and on increasing the number of players, and in past year we have had an influx of juniors. What better way for them to show how far they have come than by starting the country’s first national junior squad? We see this match as a great opportunity for two of the younger nations in the sport to build up confidence and game time.

“The future is brighter with the prospect of these kids progressing. And no matter what the outcome, we are sure that these 34 juniors will leave wanting more. This is a new chapter for rugby league in Norway.”

Lucas Zuniga, who will captain the Norwegians added: “Rugby league is a young sport in our country; we are ready to make a statement that the junior team is here to stay. As players we may be new but we are strong and confident. We are looking forward to a great game where fair play comes first.”

The Serbians are led by coach Admir Hadzic, who guided their U21s to victory over the Czech Republic last year.

“This Test Match is important for us,” he said. “We need continuity for our international youth programme and this will be good preparation for tournaments our boys have coming up this summer and next year.”

Their skipper, Vladimir Milutinovic has lot to look forward to, having been offered a trial by Toulouse in June. “This is a new group and a new experience for us,” he noted. “I know that the boys are ready to give their best and show some quality.”

NORWAY U19 SQUAD: Aksel Søttar Gjertveit, Håvard Ingemann Hansen (Bendik Trones); Runar Østbye Walnum, Lucas Zuniga (Bodø Barbarians); Sebastian Jakobsen (Farsund Bobcats); Jon Håkon Olsen (Kragerø Rugby Klubb); Svenn Randmael (Lillestrøm Lions); August Tærud Aamodt, Sjur Martin Kleppan, August Saltnes (Nannestad Norsemen); Lage Kamfjord (Oslo Capitales); Kristian Hilton (Saddleworth Rangers); Giorgio Salvemini (Sagene Rugby Klubb); Martin Wengstad (Sparbu Lumberjacks); Casper Spencer (Stavanger Storm); Ole Magnus Brekk (Trondheim Rugby Klubb).

SERBIA U18 SQUAD: Mihailo Poštić, Miloš Tasić (Dorćol RLFC); Stefan Cvetkovic (Falcon Vranje RLFC); Ivan Andrić, Marko Jakovljević, Mihailo Tomić, Vuk Tomić (Novi Beograd RLFC); Mihailo Ilić, Stevan Ivanković, Vladimir Milutinović (c), Toplica Ristić (Partisan RLFC); Dragan Djuric (Radnicki Nova Pazova RLFC); Miša Čubanović, Ilija Krstić, Rajko Trifunović (Red Star RLFC); Marko Makera, Veljko Stanković (Tzar Dušan Mighty RLFC – Paraćin).