The three squads have been announced for Euro Championship B, which begins this weekend in Belgrade when hosts Serbia take on Russia on Sunday (3 October) at Paracin City Stadium (kick off 2pm CET). Russia then face Ukraine on the following Wednesday, with Serbia and Ukraine completing the schedule on Saturday 9 October, both of those game at the FC Heroj Polet Stadium.
Serbia has announced a new head coach for the tournament, former Spain boss Darren Fisher (pictured) taking over from Stuart Wilkinson. Serbian RLF general secretary, Vladan Kikanovic, commented: “I want to thank Stuart for all his time and efforts, it was great experience and honour that our national team was run by such high-quality coach.
“Unfortunately, his professional work obligations as a lecturer at UCLAN University prevent Stuart from continuing working with us, but we want him to stay a part of the Serbian Rugby League Federation team together with his wife Amanda, to assist the pathways for our youth and best domestic national team players and our coaches, like he did it in Wales.
“We spotted Darren a long time ago as a devoted coach, great enthusiast and rugby league lover. We think Darren can do well with Serbia, he showed that with some great results for Spain in past.”
The Serbs have already played a number of Test matches and U20s fixtures in 2021 in preparation for the tournament which will see the winners promoted to Euro A for 2022.
Russia player/head coach Roman Ovchinnikov, who made history by becoming the first from the country to play in Australia with Wests Tigers in 2007 having been spotted by Tim Sheens, said: “I and my team are very happy to be back. We haven’t had a lot of games coming out of the pandemic, but we have trained with our hearts and souls. I hope our team will show what it’s capable of, it is the start of the sport rebuilding again in the country.”
Ukraine Rugby League president, Artur Martyrosian, confirmed: “We are so glad to back in the European Championship. Our Federation has a strategy of development for five years and the one of the main objectives is the successful participation of our national team in official competitions.”
Their head coach, Gennadiy Vepryk, added: “International rugby league finally comes to life again. We have the opportunity for the first time since 2018 to play such matches. The guys are very motivated, we have a chance to play with very strong teams. I hope everything goes well for us and we enjoy playing the games and meeting old friends.”
The match official panel has also been appointed with James Jones (Wales), Stephane Vincent (France), Andrew Pilkington (Spain) and Stefan Stamenic (Serbia) selected.
All the games will be live-streamed via www.Facebook.com/EuroRugbyLeague
SERBIA SQUAD : Stefan Simovic (RLC Dorcol Tigers), Aleksandar Pavlovic, Djordje Krnjeta, Dragan Jankovic, Dzavid Jasari, Enis Bibic, Nemanja Manojlovic, Stevan Stevanovic, Vladimir Milutinovic (RLC Partizan 1953), Lazar Zivkovic, Mihajlo Jovic, Stefan Arsic (RLC Radnicki Nis), Aleksandar Djordjevic, Marko Jankovic, Milos Calic, Milos Zogovic, Miodrag Tomic, Nikola Djuric Rajko Trifunovic, Stefan Nedeljkovic, Vojislav Dedic (RLC Red Star)
RUSSIA SQUAD : Ilia Danilov (RC Dinamo), Evgenii Chevankov, Artem Egorov, Roman Ovchinnikov, Sergei Sazonov, Pavel Smirnov, Dmitrii Strukov, Ivan Suracov, Ivan Troitskii, Artem Tiutrin, Ivan Vabishchevich, Andrei Zdobnikov (RLC Locomotive), Egor Petukhov (RC Moscow Dragons), Vadim Buriak, Igor Chuprin, Aram Gazarian, Anton Matiushkin, Zakir Prizniakov (RLC Olimp), Andrey Perin (RC Spartak), Kirill Bozhko, Maxim Martynov (RC Zelenograd)
UKRAINE SQUAD : Liubomyr Beznoshchuk, Vitalii Boichuk (Carpathian Trinity), Anatolii Hrankovskyi, Taras Kolisnyk, Vitalii Puchkov, Dmytro Semerenko, Oleksandr Shcherbyna, Oleksandr Skorbach, Oleksandr Syvokoz, Mykhailo Troian, Evhenii Trusov, Bohdan Vepryk, Ihor Yurkin (Kharkiv Legion XIII), Valentyn Korchak, Orest Adamyk, Valentyn Koval, Danylo Kozak, Igor Vashchuk (Lviv Tigers), Volodymyr Radchyk (Rivne Giants)
EURO B SCHEDULE
Serbia v Russa
Sunday 3rd October
Paracin City Stadium (2pm CET)
Russia v Ukraine
Wednesday 6th October
FC Heroj Polet Stadium (1pm CET)
Serbia v Ukraine
Saturday 9th October
FC Heroj Polet Stadium (2pm CET)