Media Release

Greece women and Turkey men triumph in Istanbul

27 Sep 22, 10:45AM 0 Comments

Written by European Rugby League

Greece’s women and Turkey’s men were the winners after the double header at the Istanbul Technical University Stadium.

The Greek women triumphed 8-4 over Turkey in the opening game of the Euro B Championship southern group, with Patras Panthers winger Velissaria Koutsioumpa scoring both her side’s tries in an impressive debut.

The match decider came just five minutes from time.

Greece women’s coach Stuart McLennan said: “It’s a first win in our second game and we are all really happy. We’ve put a lot of work in over the last couple of months, brought some new players into the squad and seen the rewards.

“Turkey gave us a good fight, they beat us 40-4 in our first ever fixture in 2019 and we learned a lot of lessons from that and the step up needed to international level.

“We prepared better and look forward now to facing Serbia’s women next week back in Athens.”

The scores were level at half time, with Derya Sanliturk scoring Turkey’s unconverted try.

Turkey coach Julien Treu noted: “It was a great game, undecided until the end. We had 13 new players from last time and defended really well, but we were punished for losing the ball at the end.

“I expect the girls to get better for Serbia in November and the World Cup qualifiers in 2023.”

In the following men’s international, Turkey defeated Bulgaria 38-16, posting eight tries, two of them to loose forward and captain, Serhat Keles.

“We had a full team of debutants and it was very exciting for us to play,” he said.

“Hopefully, after this, we will have an even better structure for rugby league in the country, we are extremely grateful to our visitors for coming and playing this beautiful game.”

The hosts led 22-4 at the interval after scrum half Aras Kuyumcuyan scored two tries in five minutes around the half hour mark.

Bulgaria narrowed the lead just after the break when second rower Doicho Slavin crossed.

Bulgaria coach, Adrien Frigola, commented: “I am sad we lost but happy with the attitude. We had to travel for 12 hours to get here and most of the guys were playing either their first or second international game.

“They come and train every week and we will continue to improve with practice. We are going to surprise a lot of people and cannot wait to play Malta in Sofia on October 8. It will be a massive event for us.”

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