The Belgrade Trophy – financed by the city and played for at junior international level for the 16th time since 2005 – was won by hosts Serbia U20s, who scored nine tries in a 46-4 victory over Czechia Rugby League U20s at the SC Inge-FC Masdi Proleter Stadium.
Stefan Simovic – who also kicked two goals – man of the match prop Djordje Krnjeta, and Luka Ilic all grabbed a brace of tries; Serbia U20s leading 26-0 at the break and building on their 22-12 win against Albania in July.
Their other try scorers were stand off Tommy Svanidze who plays for London Broncos Academy, Nikola Mladenovic and Andrej Marimkovic; Strahinja Stojiljkovic with four conversions.
Full back Jakub Tichy crossed for the visitors in the 64th minute, the match starting with a minute’s silence in respect of the passing of European Rugby League chair Maurice Watkins, MBE earlier this week.
Serbia Rugby League youth team coach, Jasmin Bibic, said: “It was a great performance, a number of the squad have played in our five games over the summer against our Balkan friends and they have bonded well with each other. I’m very proud of them, three of our boys today were U18 and the future of the sport is very encouraging.”
Czech Rugby League youth head coach, David Lahr, noted: “After such a long time being unable to play because of Covid, we did our maximum, I am very proud of all the guys. They said they wanted to play against tough opponents and we certainly saw that but I am hopeful that they are the future of our national team. The foundation is there for them to progress to the senior level. A few mistakes cost them early, but the spirit they showed was excellent.”
The Serbia U20 squad will now go on a seven day camp funded by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, together with their U19 squad who have begun preparations for the U19s European Cup in Italy in 2022.
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