Rugby League in Serbia - The National Team

The National Team

The National Team, which has represented Serbia and Montenegro, has competed in the Rugby League Mediterranean Cup in both 2003 and 2004 and had shown great improvement on the second occasion.

In 2005 they also participated in a three-way qualification tournament for the Rugby League European Nations Cup with the Holland and Georgia.

In 2006 Serbia participated in a four-way Rugby League World Cup qualifications/ENC B tournament with Russia, Georgia and Holland.

During July 2006, the Serbian U-19 national team participated in the U-19 European Nations Cup in Northern Catalonia. The Serbian boys were the only team outside Home nations or France on that tournament. However, they finished sixth by losing to Scotland only 14-16 in the last minutes of their 5th place play-off encounter in Barcares.

On August 12, 2006, Serbia won its first trophy. They won Czech Republic in Prague and their captain Radoslav Novaković lifted the Slavic Cup. The Serbian team played without Serbian origin players from UK or Australia.

On October 28, 2006, Serbia played Greece in Athens an historic match as it was the first Rugby League match on Greek soil. Greece was at an advantage in this match, as 10 out of their 17 players were Australian-based Greeks. Although Serbia lost the match 44-26, they played well against a team that included much more experienced players. The Serbian players said it was an honour to play against Salford City Reds player Michael Korkidas. However, this did not stop the Serbian players from being as physical as possible against Korkidas. This match was watched by 250 spectators in Athens. The low crowd was due to Greek Rugby Union trying to stop the game from being played, it was not advertised.

Belgrade hosted the first U16 European Nations Cup from 27 June to 3 July. Serbian boys made great upset by beating Russia 22-10 in the first match of their pool. In the second round, England (later winners of the Cup) won Serbia 46-0 and in 3rd place playoff Serbia lost to European Celts 22-20. However, the fourth place of Serbian U16s is the greatest success of national Rugby League in the history of the game in the country.

In 2007 Serbia is taking part in European Shield, newly-established European Rugby League competition. The first match, v Germany in Heidelberg, Serbia won 38-6 (tries by Pešić, Radovanović, Vukanović, Matejić, Jerković and Milanko and goals by Vukanović 6 and Matejić). The second match, v Czech Republic in Belgrade, Serbia won 56-16 (tries by Pešić 2, Mijušković, Radovanović 2, Jerković 2, Matejić, Brkić and Marko Milosavljević and goals by Brkić 5 and Novaković), and won the three-way competition with perfect record. Winning the match v Czech national team, Serbians defended Slavic Cup.

2008 saw Serbian national team challenges in the both U18 and open age competitions. U18s won 6th place in European Nations Cup (European Nations Shield runners-up) held in Prague and Beroun after losing to Ireland 12-66 in preliminaries, defeating European Celts 38-32 in Shield semifinals and losing to Scotland 42-38 after golden point in the second extra-time of the Shield final. As failed to qualify to 2008 Rugby League World Cup, Serbian national team took part in Euro-Med Challenge during end of September and first week of October and finished third due to defeats to Russia (4-30 in Novi Sad) and Lebanon (14-20 in Bhamdoun).

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