The second match in the Western Cup takes place in Rotterdam tomorrow, Saturday 13 August, when the Netherlands will face Germany. This match doubles up as the annual Griffin Cup contest between the two nations, which the visitors have won on the last three occasions.
Belgium triumphed in the opening Western Cup fixture last weekend, when they scored two late tries to defeat Germany 26-12 in Dortmund. “The selection process for this year’s squad has been the most thorough process there has ever been for the Netherlands Rugby League Bond,” said their coach Kane Krilic.
“Only those who have played in the domestic competition were made eligible for selection as our player pool has quadrupled over the last three years. We invited 35 players to a selection day and chose 22 to take on a three day training camp.
“One pleasing aspect is the age of this squad,” Krilic added. “There has been a conscious decision to select a high number of players under 23, with the exciting prospect of being able to develop them over the coming years. It is important that we stick to our philosophy of creating a strong, self-sustaining domestic competition rather than looking for quick fixes.
“During camp, the players had to take on a lot of information in a short amount of time but they should all be applauded for their performance efforts which we are eager to see now on match day.”
Joint German head coach Bob Doughton noted that, following last week’s narrow loss, his team will be looking to get back to winning ways.
“We were very disappointed to have given victory away only 10 minutes from the end of the match,” he said. “We made far too many basic errors and didn’t stick to our game plan. The special feature about this Germany squad is that there are no heritage players. All of these players are based in Germany and have taken part in our domestic competition.”
The German squad of 18 travelling represents nine clubs.
In the final match of this tri-nations series, Holland visit Belgium in September.