Niue hold off fast finishing Malta

Day two of the Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championship got underway at St Mary’s Leagues Club in Sydney, with Malta looking to make it back-to-back wins while Niue were looking to get their campaign off to a flying start.

With the ground a bit slick, and some big boys on both teams, it would be a bruising affair and Niue would come out firing on all cylinders.

The forward pack for Niue would provide some barraging runs to give them the field territory early on, with a mistake by Emmanuel Sultana gifting Niue a set from close range.

One penalty and one play later, George Lolo would bash his way through two defenders to score right next to the left hand post to open the scoring on seven minutes.

The try was converted by Eddy Paea to make it 6-0.

Niue would nearly go in again, with a kick coming back into the hands of Niue.

The ball was spread out wide, and Cyruss Payne looked certain to score in the right hand corner.

It would take some incredible last ditch defense from Malta’s right hand edge to scamper back and drag Payne towards the sideline to regain possession.

Niue would dominate in both attack and defense, hammering the Maltese attack to force errors and leave them to kick from their own half in every set. That would pay off on Niue’s next attacking set, with Latrell Schaumkel grubbering for himself and getting a perfect bounce behind the Malta line to score.

Eddy Paea would make no mistake from twenty metres out to make it 12-0 in favour of Niue after sixteen minutes.

Niue would once again have the Maltese defense on the back foot, and Eddy Paea would make the most of this with a beautiful bomb from twenty out towards his left edge.

Malta looked to have it covered, but Justice Utatao would leap well above the pack to take an overhead mark and grab the third try of the game.

Eddy Paea would covert his first difficult kick to make it 18-0 with just over twenty minutes gone in the first half.

That would wake up the beast of Malta that was seen on Monday against the Philippines.

After being gifted a set of possession from a Niue attacking penalty, Tyler Cassel would first break through and be taken down in a textbook goal line tackle from Schaumkel, then he was on the end of a grubber from Adam Campbell to give Malta their first points of the game.

Niue would pay the price, with three players around the ball thinking that it would go dead in goal.

Nathan Benson would have the kicking duties yet again, and swung his attempt around perfectly to leave it at 18-6.

Both sides would have chances at the line, with Tyler Cassel nearly creating something out of nothing for Malta.

The very next set though, Niue would grab themselves another set and make the most of it.

Eddy Paea would send a flying cut-out ball to Jordan Tongahai, who would push through a few cover defenders and score to make it 22-6.

That is how it would stay at the break, with Paea missing his conversion attempt and Schaumkel being penalised for a double movement.

Tyler Cassel would be doing it all for Malta, saving their game with a crucial ankle tap and tackle to have Schaumkel down before he reached out.

Malta would come out in the second half and have all of the possession, but some handling errors would allow Niue off the hook as the rain started to come down in Sydney.

It would be a back and forth contest for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, with errors and penalties costing both teams a chance to score.

It would be an error that would give Niue the ball close to halfway, and they would make the most of it after fifty-eight minutes, with some great running and a touched cut-out pass seeing Justice Utatao go over for his second try, bringing the score to 26-6.

Eddy Paea would get a rest, and Jacob Samoa would miss his first conversion attempt to the left.

Jake Attard would have a long run a few minutes later for Malta, trying to go on the counter attack after a loose ball, but the Knights could not do much in attack thanks to some desperate Niue defense on the goal line.

With the ball getting rather slick and the rain getting heavier at St Mary’s Stadium, handling would become a major issue for both teams within their attacking set.

An error would finally lead to some points, with a fantastic break from Jake Scott seeing Tyson Muscat get the inside ball and slide over with seven minutes left.

Nathan Benson would hit the right hand post to leave the score at 26-10, with Malta needing a miracle to see a result.

It would be back to back tries for Malta, with Jake Attard running out of dummy-half and offloading to Tyler Cassel, who passed inside to Adam Campbell, who would dart over right next to the posts to make it a tantalising last few minutes.

Benson would convert to make it 26-16 with four minutes to go.

That would be it for Malta though, with an error just inside their own half confirming an upset win for Niue in their first game of the tournament.

Malta would stay on top thanks to their superior points differential, setting up a tantalizing game between Niue and the Philippines to decide who progresses out of Group A.

Malta: 16
Tries – Tyler Cassel, Tyson Muscat, Adam Campbell
Goals – Nathan Benson (2)

Niue: 26
Tries – Justice Utatao (2), George Lolo, Latrell Schaumkel, Jordan Tongahai
Goals – Eddy Paea (3)

Article by: Luke Jobson – Journalist – Rugby League Around the Grounds

Thanks to Nigel Goos – International Development for SARL

Turkey too strong for Japan in Emerging Nations

After a strong start to the Emerging Nations World Championship, Turkey were looking to continue their winning ways against Japan.

A mistake from Japan from the kick off gave Turkey a great opportunity early on and the Turkish Rugby League side made the most of the opportunity.

Ali Bokeyhan Surer went over from dummy half and converted his own try to give Turkey a 6-0 lead after 3 minutes.

Japan looked to be in for a long day from the outset with the fullback Sean Gabites dropping the ball off a kick, giving Turkey another excellent attacking opportunity, though Turkey returned the favour and lost possession, letting Japan off the hook.

Turkey split the Japanese defence and looked certain to score a few minutes later but Jansin Turgut dropped the ball just out from the goal line.

Despite it only being 6-0, the opening 15 minutes saw Turkey dominate possession though the Japanese defence held on and kept the big Turkish players.

Soon after Yusuf Dagdanasar – the man whose name means ‘the man from the mountain’ – strolled over untouched under the posts and Ali Bokeyhan Surer converted again to give Turkey a 12-0 lead.

The next set after scoring Turkey steamrolled their way up the field and Ali Bokeyhan Surer went over for his second from dummy half, converting his try again taking the lead to 18-0.

Japan earned themselves back to back sets but couldn’t capitalise on their opportunity.

The Japanese fullback was taken from the field for a HIA in the 25th minute and Japan gained a couple of back to back penalties to help them up the field.

A strong Turkish tackle dislodged the ball close to the line and another Japanese attacking set was wasted.

Turkey’s forwards kept steamrolling up field and made it difficult for the much smaller Japanese pack to contain them.

In the 29th minute Turkish centre Arda Dalcik crashed over the line only to drop the ball, letting Japan off the hook once again.

Turkey scored their 4th Try of the match off the back of a great run down the sideline by Alper Karabork.

It was Ali Bokeyhan Surer who scored again from dummy half, making it a first half hat trick and then converting his own try to make it a commanding 24-0 Turkish lead after 34 minutes.

Off the back of a strong set after a try Turkey went in again when captain Jansin Turgut sold a beautiful dummy and went over under the posts.

Surer converted and Turkey lead 30-0.

The Turkey forwards were exceptional in laying the platform in the first half in particular Adem Baskonyali just rolling through the Japanese defence.

Going into the halftime break Turkey lead Japan with a massive 30-0 lead.

The second half commenced and Japan looked to spread it wide early but were bundled into touch on the 40 metre line in Turkey’s half, giving the opposition good field possession early.

Alper Karabork gathered a Japan kick and broke the defence down the sideline scoring an excellent 60 metre try and celebrating with the ball boy.

Surer couldn’t convert from the sideline and the score remained 34-0.

Japan had another promising set in the Turkish team’s half but again they couldn’t convert the set into points with the Turkish defensive line too quick, putting an end to the Japanese attacking raid.

Turkey scored off a scrum feed in the corner through a great little offload from Aydin Salman-Cochran to the captain Jansin Turgut to crash over for his second try.

Surer missed the conversion once again and Turkey had a commanding 38-0 lead.

The Japanese defence couldn’t contain the Turkish forwards who continued to stroll up field and Adem Baskonyali scored a very well deserved try in the 57th minute and the score really started to blow out of Japans control.

Ali Bokeyhan Surer managed to convert the try to give Turkey a 44-0 lead.

Japan really struggled getting out of their own half with the Turkish defence pushing them back on every tackle.

Turkey crashed over in the 70th minute through Enes Erten and with the successful conversion from Surer, Turkey lead 50-0.

Presley Salman-Cochran appealed for a Try in the 74th minute after toeing the ball up field but the referee denied the Turkish player what would have been an excellent try.

It wouldn’t be long until Turkey went over again when Ata Doruk Celikutan split the Japan defence and passed to Alican Acar who then passed back inside to Celikutan to score in the corner.

Surer couldn’t convert from the sideline and Turkey lead 54-0.

Turkey crashed over for one last try and bringing up the double for Enes Erten and with Yusuf Dagdanasar taking the kicking duties and slotting it over.

Turkey were just too strong for Japan today running out convincing winners 60-0.

Japan: 0

Turkey: 60
Tries – Ali Bokeyhan Surer (3), Jansin Turgut (2), Enes Erten, Yusuf Dagdanasar, Alper Karabork, Adem Baskonyali, Ata Doruk Celikutan
Goals – Ali Bokeyhan Surer (7), Yusuf Dagdanasar

Article by: Nathan Taylor – Journalist – Rugby League Around the Grounds
Thanks to Nigel Goos – International Development for SARL


Poland overpower Hong Kong in Emerging Nations

Game six of the Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championship had Hong Kong Rugby League taking on the Polish Rugby League side in some wet and miserable conditions.

It was an evenly fought opening 10 minutes of the game as both teams had their opportunities early.

An error by Hong Kong let Poland off the hook before Poland worked their way into an attacking set and got the scoring going for the game.

Star half Harry Siejka showed his skills early on with a bit of footwork before throwing the over the top cut out to his centre Simon Maslanka who went over in the corner. The conversion was missed by Harry Siejka.

Poland were quick to go on the attack once again and insert their early dominance by stacking on more points.

With a few repeat sets coming their way, the Hong Kong defence cracked again when Poland scored off an almost identical set piece that they scored off last time, but this time on the opposite side.

Five-Eighth Jonah Metuangaro took on the defensive line and launched a beautiful cut out pass to his winger in Robert Mykietyn to push his way over near the left side corner post.

Conversion unsuccessful by Harry Siejka.

Although having a rough time from the tee with the conversions, Harry Siejka showed his superb kicking skills when he launched a brilliant 40/20 to once again put Poland in an attacking position.

The Polish boys were able to take full advantage of the attacking position when they shot out to a quick 12-0 lead courtesy of Chippie Korostchuk, who grabbed himself a try when he was hit with a beautiful short ball by his five-eighth, Jonah Metuangaro.

The conversion was missed again by Harry Siejka.

Poland grabbed their fourth try in half an hour thanks to the big back rower grabbing himself a quick double.

Chippie Korostchuk ran another ideal line as he sliced through the defence at speed while being hit with yet another brilliant short ball by Jonah Metuangaro.

Harry Siejka was replaced by Ethan Niszczot in the kicking duties, who slotted the conversion for a 18-0 lead.

Hong Kong were struggling to get their hands on the ball and it continued to get worse for them.

Line breaks once again getting Poland into an attacking position and just like the previous attacking sets it led to another Polish try when Jonah Metuangaro threw the dummy and stepped his way through the defensive line to go over and score the try.

Ethan Niszczot converted from in front for a 24-0 lead.

As we entered the final few minutes of the half, Hong Kong were able to get a few sets without conceding a try, however as they started gaining possession they handed it straight back through an attacking penalty.

Hong Kong hooker, Craig McMurrich, was penalised and sin binned for what appeared to be dissent.

The sin bin resulted in Poland having the man advantage and they grabbed a try on half time when winger Michal Maslanka jumped out of dummy half and took off before finding his open centre Simon Maslanka who was off to the races for a 50 metre sprint to the try line.

The conversion was missed by Ethan Niszczot as Poland went into the half time break up 28-0.

The second half started perfectly for Hong Kong as an early 40/20 by fullback Matthew Waugh resulted in the first try for the half.

Hooker Craig McMurrich came back on after returning from his sin binning and made up for it instantly when he dived over out of dummy half, which was converted by by Richard Lindsay.

Poland were able to respond quickly with two quick tries.

After bagging and early double, Chippie Korostchuk was able to show his play making skills, popping up the ball for his fullback, Ethan Niszczot, who flew through the defence for a try.

He was able to convert his own try from the sideline.

Poland’s second try of the half was almost a repeat of the previous one, with Korostchuk once again popping up the ball, this time to his five-eight in Janah Metuangaro who wrapped around and threw another killer cut out pass to winger Robert Mykietyn for the try.

Ethan Niszczot converted another beauty from the sideline.

Hong Kong Hooker Craig McMurrich had already been sin binned and was then sent off, then Poland were able to take the score out to 44-6 when they scored a simple one in the corner by winger Michal Maslanka.

The Polish side were able to hit the half century after lock Norbert Balacinski broke through the Hong Kong line and charged off down field, he was brought down just short of the line, but five-eight Jonah Metuangaro was able to finish it off with his classy footwork.

Poland went over again after that which was a result of the Hong Kong team simply showing to much fatigue. Chippie Korostchuk broke through the tired Hong Kong line and found Simon Maslanka in support who then passed it off to his brother Michal Maslanka to score in the right hand corner.

Both conversions were successful by Ethan Niszczot.

Poland finally finished it all off with a try on the fulltime buzzer, which created a hat trick for the man of the match, Chippie Korostchuk.

Ethan Niszczot converted and gave Poland the big 62-6 win over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: 6
Tries – Craig McMurrich
Goals – Richard Lindsay

Poland: 62
Tries – Chippie Korostchuk (3), Simon Maslanka (2), Jonah Metuangaro (2), Michal Maslanka (2), Robert Mykietyn, Ethan Niszczot, Robert Mykietyn
Goals – Ethan Niszczot (7)

Article by : Blake Morgan – Journalist

Thanks to Nigel Goos – International Development for SARL

Hungary record late victory against Vanuatu

Rugby League Around the Grounds

Day two of the Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championship continued at St Mary’s Leagues Club in Sydney with Vanuatu kicking off to Hungary to start the fourth and final game of the day

Off some hard tackling, Vanuatu forced the first of many errors, getting the ball close in attacking territory, though they were not able to capitalise.

Vanuatu gained some quality possession off the back of penalties and Andrew Kaltongga was able to step through, only to be held up over line after slipping up in the wet conditions.

After absorbing plenty of pressure the Hungarian team struck first through a great wide play to Nathan Farkas, which was then converted by Jared Farkas.

Hungary then began to mount an assault of their own with the ball, running down the blind side almost leading to their second try, though they gained a penalty and a repeat set instead.

The ensuing set they stretched Vanuatu and scored in the corner courtesy of Jayson Gerecs, though the conversion is unsuccessful

An error from Vanuatu gave further attacking possession to Hungary on the stroke of half time, which was followed by conceding a penalty .

Hungary elected to kick for goal from right in front, which was successful, taking the half time score to 12-0.

Vanuatu came out of the sheds with a renewed sense of purpose, setting up camp in the Hungarian half with repeat sets from forced dropouts and penalties.

Vanuatu didn’t make the most of their continued opportunities, easing their strangle hold on the momentum of the half after making unforced errors.

Hungary’s counter attack was almost instantly fruitful, with Jared Farkas toeing through the ball after a short kick, then collecting the ball just before the try line and, unfortunately for his team, he was penalised for a double movement.

Vanuatu then created space down the left edge for Amani Arutahiki to have a long run, parking his team in attacking territory.

An error from Hungary off a scrum in the next set gave Vanuatu a further chance and they took the opportunity, with a barnstorming run from captain, James Wood, shrugging off one tackle and taking four Hungarians over the line with him to score.

Andrew Kaltongga converted to make it 12-6.

Vanuatu made the most of their momentum, with James Wood making another enterprising run down the left edge, distributing the ball towards the sideline which finished with Amani Arutahiki scoring from a beautiful final pass.

The Vanuatu supporter base then erupted with joy as Andrew Kaltongga converted from the sideline to bring the scores level.

Vanuatu five-eighth, Alehana Mara, then put Vanuatu in front after slotting a simple drop goal, resulting in the first lead change of the match with just 6 minutes remaining.

From the restart Hungary manage to sneak the ball over the sideline, getting the ball back on the Vanuatu 30 metre line.

Paul Ivan shortly barges over in the left corner against Vanuatu, carrying two players over with him.

Jared Farkas converted from the sideline and the drama intensified with the lead changing again in the dying minutes.

Hungary spill the ball again in their next set and Vanuatu rush to pack the scrum.

Vanuatu fail to get to their kick which meant Hungary shut Vanuatu’s last play down.

Hungary then proceed to slow the play down, running down the clock and kicking the ball into touch to take the game 18-13.

Hungary: 18
Tries – Nathan Farkas, Jayson Gerecs
Goals – Jared Farkas (2)

Vanuatu: 13
Tries – James Wood, Amani Arutahiki
Goals – Andrew Kaltongga (2)
Field Goals – Alehana Mara

Article by :Jeremy Jones –  Journalist

Thanks to Nigel Goos – International Development for SARL

Emerging nations world championship – Greece vs Hungary

The third and final game of day had Hungary and Greece going head to head in a game that was going to be spent strategising with a killer breeze.

As the day cooled down, and the wind picked up, this game was set up to be the perfect way to see the day out.

Off the scrum set and first true play of the game, halfback David Forkorsh took off across field drawing in plenty of defenders before finding his big man, James Korvarch, with a short ball who went storming through and got the scoring going within the opening two minutes of the game.

The Conversion was successful by Jared Forkorsh.

With a penalty marching them down field and the pressure building, Greece were able to grab themselves a repeat set, and were able to find the points not long after that, thanks to a solo effort by Greek backrower Adam Vrahnos who charged his way through the defence, shedding off defenders before crashing over the line to get Greece up and going.

Sam Stratis converted to tie the game up.

Hungary got themselves the lead again through the brilliance of David Forkorsh after penalties assisted Hungary into an attacking position.

The witty halfback hit his man in Daniel Ivan with another perfect short ball as the big forward went storming through the defensive line to go over, though he conversion was missed off the right side post.

Greece were able to get themselves into a few attacking positions, but a mixture of one-on-one strips and errors took the pressure off the Hungary defence.

David Forkorsh also hit the first 40/20 of the tournament with a perfectly struck kick finding touch just a metre out from the Greek line, but the defence stood strong.

Finally after some back and forth footy, Hungary were able to extend their lead just prior to the half time break.

After the forwards scored all the meat pies this game, the backs finally got their share when Hungary centre Josh Institoris pulled off the cheeky step and fend to rid the defence and went flying down field.

The centre did his job as he sucked in the fullback before finding his winger Cruize Too Ray who was able to go over and extend Hungary’s lead.

The conversion was unsuccessful and Hungary took the 14-6 lead into the half time break.

Being down by 8 and Hungary finishing the first half with all the momentum, it was important that Greece came out firing, and that’s exactly what they did.

The Greece boys found themselves scoring the first points of the half to bring the game back within a single scoring play when halfback Tremaine Terzis pump faked the dummy and hit his centre Sam Stratis with a short ball who went charging through the line.

A mixture of lightning fast speed and the agile footwork allowed Sam to beat the defending fullback to go over in the corner, then he converted his own try from the sideline to train only 14-12.

As the game started to heat up, so did the fans, as both teams’ fan bases found their voices as the game moved into the final quarter.

The tensions rose as both teams’ defence stood up, then the errors started crawling their way into the game as the pressure got higher.

Greece finally took the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game in one of the most incredible rugby league tries you will ever see!

A set of flick passes and desperate offloads finally saw a kick put in by Tyrone Taukamo which was picked up and flicked out to the hooker Peter Mamouzelos who put the ball down under the posts to give Greece an 18-14 lead after the conversion by Sam Stratis.

A beautiful set piece in attack by Hungary gave us a tied game with just 4 minutes to play the game.

An out the back cut out found centre Billy Mozer who then went out to his winger Brent Vor Goh on the overlap who stepped back on the inside of the fullback and was able to ground the ball.

The conversion by Jared Forkorsh gave Hungary the 2 point lead again with just a few minutes remaining.

Despite being given a final minute attacking set, the Hungary defence stood firm and kept Greece out.

Hungary were able to hold on to win the game 20-18 and put an end to a thrilling game and a fantastic day 1 of the Rugby League Emerging Nation World Championship.

Greece: 18
Tries – Adam Vrahnos, Sam Stratis, Peter Mamouzelos
Goals – Sam Stratis (3)

Hungary: 20
Tries – James Korvarch, Daniel Ivan, Cruize Too Ray, Brent Vor Goh
Goals – Jared Forkorsh (2)

Emerging nations world championship – Solomon Islands vs Turkey

It would take Turkey just 2 minutes to grab the game’s opening try, launching an assault on the Solomon Islands’ line after an error before a neat kick through from Jaydin Salman-Cochrane was collected by Arda Dalcik who raced through to score, the conversion missed by Huseyin Karabork.

The Turkish intensity in defence was beginning to disrupt the Solomon Islands rhythm, players flying out of the line and forcing errors from their counterparts.

Turkey would somehow survive an onslaught of attacks when a penalty gave the Solomon Islands two sets of six on the Turkey line, the Solomon Islands left centre going close but spilling the ball over the line.

Turkey would soon have their second try of the game from a kick, Aiden Salman-Cochrane dribbling the ball off the boot, the bobbling kick spilled by the Solomon Islands and Volkan Er was the fastest to react to the loose ball, the conversion missed, taking the score to 8-0.

The Solomon Islands would hand Turkey possession from a penalty from the restart, Turkey spilling the ball from the restart and then proceeding to give a penalty for lifting.

The Solomon Islands penalised for an incorrect play the ball and the chance going begging.

The Solomon Islands would go close once more, Sanya and Tanga Moana both held just shy of the line as the Turkish side survived yet another attack. The Solomon Islands then handing the ball back to Turkey for crossing, a real chance missed.

Turkey would make the Solomon islands pay for ill discipline, Arda Dalcik going very close with a 20 metre solo effort to get Turkey within touching distance of the line, the ball spread right and Aiden Solman-Cochrane slotting himself through a gap to score, the conversion scored by Ali Bokeyhan Surer.

The Solomon Islands would steal a try 5 minutes before the half, Tony Kaypuya diving over from dummy half close to the Turkish line to get his sides first points of the day, the conversion successful by Eddie Moe’ava, 14-6.

Turkey would respond immediately after conceding, the kick off shallow and to the right of the field, forcing the Solomon Islands player off the field of play.

Turkey driving deep into opposition territory and coming up with points through Ali Bokeyhan Surer out of dummy half and over the line to extend the Turkey lead, Ali Bokeyhan Surer converting his own try to make it 20-6 at the half.

Aiden Solman-Cochrane would grab his second of the game when he shaped to pass at the Solomon Islands’ line and ghosted through a gap to open the scoring for the second half, Ali Bokeyhan Surer on target with the kick.

Dalcik would have his second of the game after Ali Bokeyhan Surer went close for the Turkish side, the ball shipped to the left at speed and a basketball pass found the left centre to dive into the corner, Ali Bokeyhan Surer hitting the crossbar with the conversion attempt, Turkey taking a 30-6 lead.

The Solomon Islands would see possession very briefly in the form of a drop out on the 20 after kicking a penalty too long, Arda Dalcik screeching out the line and delivering a rib rattler to force the ball loose and hand Turkey possession.

The Solomon Islands were still creating chances after the fullback broke from behind the scrum, the strong run followed up by Pura Lavonstarr, the ball spilled 5 metres from the line two tackles later.

Singamoana was causing problems for the Turkish side as he made yet another huge solo break, the Solomon Islands using that as the platform and the human wrecking ball that is Jimmy Maebata steamed onto a flat ball from 10 metres out, Timo Sanga with the successful conversion to make it 30-12.

Tengamoana would be the latest Solomon Islands player to cross, the number 9 going over from close range after Jimmy Maebata was forced back over the line to prevent a certain try, the kick missed.

The Solomon Islands would grab another late try with 1 minute to play, Tengamoana shipping the ball from dummy half to the big man Jimmy Maebata to help himself to a double from within 10 of the line, too little too late though as Turkey held on to be 30-22 winners.

Solomon Islands: 22
Tries – Jimmy Maebata (2), Tony Kaypuya, Carlwyn Tengamoana
Goals – Eddie Moe’ava (3)

Turkey: 30
Tries – Arda Dalcik (2), Aiden Solman-Cochrane (2), Volkan Er, Ali Bokeyhan Surer
Goals – Ali Bokeyhan Surer (3)

Author: Matthew Wright

Emerging nations world championship – Malta vs Philippines

The first game of the Rugby League Emerging Nationals World Championship was held out at Windsor Sporting Complex in Sydney, with Malta and the Philippines doing battle.

The hype of the Emerging Nations World Championship had reached its peak, and with the build up done and dusted it was time for these two nations to dive into battle to open up the tournament.


The opening game would be full of bit hits and some fantastic footwork, with Malta coming out of the blocks full of steam.

It would take just over four minutes for the first try, with Kyle Cassel nearly breaking through the line on a shortside play, offloading to Nathan Benson who would go through over untouched to score the first try of the Championship.

Benson improved the angle of the shot by darting in field to plant the ball down, he would convert to make it 6-0 after as many minutes.

The Philippines would gift Malta some back to back sets thanks to some sloppy handling, penalties and a deflected kick.

It would be all that the Knights needed as two plays after a deflected grubber deep in the Knights attacking half, Sam Stone would bring out some fancy footwork and dance his way through the Philippines defense to score Malta’s second try of the afternoon to the right of the posts.

Benson would add the extras to make it 12-0 after as many minutes.

The Philippines would wake up after this, with some big hits and enterprising play allowing them to get deep into the attacking half without reward.

Some great defensive structure from Malta would hold out the attack of the Philippines set after set, making the most of their next opportunity through Kyle Cassel.

A simple second phase play would see Cassel get around his opposite number and slide into the far left corner for a 16-0 lead, with Benson missing the kick from the left hand upright.

The Philippines would hit back almost straight away though, with some fantastic running by the outside back and the prop forwards allowing for some expansive play close to the line late in the set.

Jordan Bien would get a low ball from Marc Russell, but Bien would dance through two tackles and get under the tackle of Benson to score the Tamaraws first try of the tournament.

Bien would convert his own try to bring the margin back to ten at 16-6.

A few errors from both sides would start to creep in, and Malta would capitalise first on it.

Justin Rodrigues would slide straight through the Tamaraws defense after selling a dummy to his right, coming back under the post to make it 20-6.

Benson would shank the kick from directly in front to leave the scoreline as it was going into the half time break.

The second half would start up with both teams attacking the lines and having chances to score, yet coming up empty handed.

Malta would open up the second half the same way they started the first, with Kyle Cassel receiving a short ball from Tyler Cassel to go through the defense untouched from 30 metres out.

Benson would make no mistake this time with the conversion, giving Malta a 26-6 lead.

The Philippines would have to toughen up in defense, surviving raid after raid on their own line to then turn it around and score on their first raid at the Knights defense in a while.

Blake Mackay would take advantage of some spread play, with two offloads and a chest pass out to him allowing the winger to go over with an acrobatic dive to make it 26-10.

Bien could not convert, with the game on a tightrope.

Malta would put an end to it though, with Jake Attard barreling through from dummy half with eight minutes of time left to score in a captain’s display for the Malta Knights.

Nathan Benson would make no mistake from in front this time around, and Kyle Cassel would once again go over to put the icing on the cake as the Knights would record their first win of the RLENWC 2018 campaign with a 36-10 win.

Malta: 36
Tries – Kyle Cassel (3), Nathan Benson, Sam Stone, Justin Rodrigues, Jake Attard,
Goals – Nathan Benson (4)

Philippines: 10
Tries – Jordan Bien, Blake Mackay
Goals – Jordan Bien


Author: Luke Jobson

South Africa (Rhinos) vs Italy 12 Oct 2018

South Africa (Rhinos) vs Italy 12 Oct 2018

South Africa v Italy

It was June 2006 when the South African Rhinos left their shores for a two test tour of Italy
The Rhinos were successful back then but that was 12 years ago
This October in Sydney, South Africa and Italy meet again in test match rugby league
The match will be played at Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park on Friday October 12 with a

7 30 pm kick off

Italy will be fielding a team of talented young players of Australian /Italian heritage
As was the case with the South Africa / Malta test back in June, the Rhinos will be drawing on players from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand
Both countries will be looking at developing their players for their respective RLWC 21 campaigns

Italy and South Africa will be playing for the Alliance Cup which recognises the great relationship that both countries share and it is another step forward to an ongoing partnership on and off the field
The match will be live streamed

The link will be posted shortly before kick off on the South African Rugby League and Italian Rugby League facebook pages

Game day schedule

Italy Heritage u13s v Aust Indigenous U13s 4 pm

Italy Heritage U16s v Malta U16s 5pm

Italy Heritage U18s v Malta U18s 6 15 pm

Italy v South Africa 7 30 pm

Rhinos skipper looking for step up


IT’S something only the bravest of men would shout in the streets of Jean Coetzer’s native Pretoria.
It would probably draw derision at it’s mildest and pose a threat to one’s person at it’s most extreme, but for Corrimal recruit, Coetzer, there is no doubt – rugby league is the greatest game of all.
“It’s a lot better than union, it’s faster quicker, tougher,” Coetzer says.
League writers Mitch Jennings and Tim Barrow talk NRL and Illawarra Coal LeagueLike most boys growing up in Pretoria, Coetzer was brought up in the 15-man game with no knowledge of rugby league.
“When I was young it was non-existent. I didn’t even know about it,” Coetzer said.
“I grew up playing union and started playing [league] in 2009, with my brother just for a bit of bonding with friends. I got straight through to provincial [championship] and straight to International and I’ve played ever since.”
The game is faced with many hurdles in his homeland, not the least of which is the the South African Sports Confederation’s stubborn refusal to recognise the game as separate from rugby union; the battle the league fought in other countries more than 100 years ago.
Despite that the competition continues to grow with the premier Rhino Cup featuring teams from Gauteng Province and another competition based around Cape Town.
“When I started I don’t think we were even on the map but it’s really coming up now,” Coetzer said.
“The Rhino Cup is our top comp and it’s based mainly Gauteng [province], so between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Mpumalanga. This year we started a comp in Cape Town so hopefully if the money gets good we can combine and make it a big [national] comp.”
Coetzer first played his first Test for South Africa in 2009 and captained the Rhinos in their World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon last year, a tournament that saw the climb as high as 25 in the world rankings.
“It was a very great experience, especially with all the young boys I had under me. It’s was a really big honour,” he said.
At 26, he felt the time was right to seek out a tougher challenge. He got a quick initiation in the Cougars last-start loss to Collegians and Saturday promises a massive step up against league leaders Dapto.
“This is the first time I’ve come abroad to play and I’ve definitely come here for a step up,” he said.
“I came straight off the plane and got straight into the two practice sessions and played [against Collegians]. It’s a lot quicker than I’m used to but now, after three weeks, the body’s more used to it so we’ll see how I go this weekend against Dapto.”
Elsewhere in the Illawarra Coal League, Wests host Thirroul at Parrish Park while Berkeley will travel to Helensburgh to take on the Tigers at Rex Jackson Oval.

The unfortunate of SA Rugby League and Sascoc’s bizarre refusal to budge

Rugby League, the 13-man jamboree which prides itself on speed and power and which is immensely popular in Australia, New Zealand and South_African_Sports_Confederation_and_Olympic_Committee_logo.svgEngland, is struggling to find an identity in South Africa because of Sascoc’s refusal to accept the sport as something different to rugby union, the traditional 15-man code. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

To understand the bizarre and baffling situation the South African Rugby League finds itself in, you must first understand its history in this country. Back in the 1960s, a rag-tag group of South Africans travelled to Australia to represent the country in rugby league. Back then, league was one of the first sports that had started to professionalise in England and pay players for their services.

Upon their return, players knew that if they were to ever play league again, they would be banned from playing union. Even kids at school level who were interested in the sport were told that they would not be allowed to play union should they sign up for league.
And so, rugby league was effectively banned. Even back then, this was so typical of rugby’s elitism and a small-mindedness which persists to this day and which is quite evident in the struggles of the South African Rugby League (SARL) trying to be recognised by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

For the uninitiated, rugby league is a 13-man sport that’s like rugby, but not quite. The rules are somewhat different and some call it the most physically demanding of all forms of rugby. Play is brisk and there is little time wasted on contesting possession. Think of it as Sevens on steroids. While it has the pace and the flair of sevens, it also carries on for a full 80 minutes.

Since returning to the South African sporting fray in 1994, South African rugby league has struggled to find its identity in the South African sporting landscape. While the governing body has had its administrative ups and downs in the last few years, at the heart of its struggle is Sascoc’s refusal to recognise the sport as a federation separate to rugby union.

Despite rugby union and rugby league being governed by different bodies internationally, they refuse to budge in South Africa. At the heart of the issue is the Sascoc constitution which dictates the recognition of members. Article 8.1.6 says: “Sascoc does not recognise more than one National Sport Federation of a similar or same sport type.” Thus Sascoc is saying that rugby league is not currently considered a distinct sport and that, despite it being governed by a different international body, it cannot get independent recognition.

But here is the contradiction: Article 8.1.2 of Sascoc’s constitution says members of “national sports federations affiliated to other major International Federations governing sports presently not included in the programme of the Olympic Games” can also be recognised. Since Rugby League is not an Olympic sport and SARL is affiliated to the Rugby League International Federation, surely it should be recognised independently?
It’s a challenge that has been hindering the sport’s progress for many years and Kobus Botha, the current SARL president, is all too familiar with the battle.

“We’ve had negotiations at all levels. We’ve had discussions with Tubby Reddy (Sascoc), Jurie Roux and Oregan Hoskins (both Saru) on numerous occasions,” he tells the Daily Maverick. “Sascoc insist that we should fall under Saru which would essentially mean that they would determine what we can and can’t do and which funding we can receive. We even have letters from the IRB stating clearly that we are different, but they cannot make room for us,” he adds.

It is a baffling situation made even more so by the fact that Sascoc seem to contradict themselves in a way. For example, Sascoc recognises ice hockey and hockey separately. Karate and Judo are both recognised separately as members despite both being considered “martial arts” – which is also recognised separately. Even sheep sheering is recognised as a federation.

SARL is a registered sporting association in the country and has support from the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). At one stage during the ongoing saga, Roux even sent a letter detailing that union and league are two different things, but Sascoc refused to budge. Through all of this, the Department of Sport and Recreation shrug their shoulders saying they cannot give Sascoc any instruction, they can only advise them on a number of aspects.

For SARL, this is an immense challenge and it stops the sport’s development dead in its tracks. Currently, because it is not recognised by Sascoc, SARL cannot receive financial assistance from the government. It can’t be played in schools and corporate support and sponsorship is even harder to come by. Technically, the caps the players earn when playing internationally don’t even count since Sascoc is responsible for awarding national colours to athletes. Those representing South Africa at all events also have to fund these trips themselves. Event rips to World Cups – at junior and senior level – are largely paid out of the pockets of those called up to play. The organisation endorses the applications for bidding and hosting of international events, providing that specific criteria are all met.

Last year, SARL was willing to give up the fight for independent recognition and be absorbed by Saru. While far from ideal, it seemed the only way to go forward. “We were pushed into that hole because of the refusal to be recognised independently, but to grow the sport, we had no other choice,” Botha says.

Saru and SARL agreed that the two sports would be overseen by one committee while having separate constitutions and created a memorandum of understanding which had to be approved by a two-thirds majority at Saru’s annual general meeting. Botha says Roux had told Botha he was confident of the memorandum of understanding passing, but developments hit another snag.

SARL is not just fighting a battle for independent recognition, but an ongoing court case, with a group of former SARL officials claiming they are actually the recognised governing body of the sport in South Africa also causing a hindrance. This rebel body is not registered or recognised by the RLIF, but Botha says that Roux felt that the vote on the memorandum of understanding could not progress until the court case was settled.
All things considered, it seemed a rather convenient excuse because SARL seems to be fighting against the self-interest and self-preservation of the powers that be in rugby union. Botha says that at one stage during the many years of negotiations – now dragging on for over five years – Hoskins had told SARL that the “financial cake is only so big”. The men in charge of Saru and Sascoc are, of course, big rugby union men and protecting the code is to their financial benefit.

“They see us as a threat. We are the sleeping giants of sport. I think people are getting a bit tired of Rugby Union. So imagine a new sport arrives that’s more exciting than union, people will be intrigued,” Botha says. He’s not wrong. The 2013 Rugby League World Cup, held in the UK, smashed all records, drawing an aggregate crowd of 458,463 with 74,468 of those being international visitors. There were eight sell-outs and eight stadium record crowds for rugby league matches. Tournament director Nigel Wood confirmed profits of at least £3.7-million with the towns and city that hosted the matches pocketing a pretty penny.

This kind of money can greatly benefit not only the sport of rugby league in South Africa, but also boost the tourism industry. South Africa is already a tourist favourite and becomes even more so when there is an international sporting event for fans to flock to. But without Sascoc’s endorsement, being awarded a World Cup is difficult.

But the fight is not confined to the boardrooms. Union’s elitism has spilled out onto the playing fields too. SARL is recognised by sports councils in both Gauteng and the Western Cape, but Botha says the players have often run into trouble when trying to practise or play.

“We are often bullied by union clubs where we are told that we cannot play here or there because it’s their turf, but these are municipal fields. Saru has even gone so far as to write a letter to Gauteng’s sport’s council telling them they cannot support us,” Botha says.
“Sascoc and Saru have killed us at point blank range,” Botha adds.

A fledgling rugby league in South Africa can only be a good thing for sport. Just last week Saru president Oregan Hoskins bemoaned the overload of professionals in the country’s professional rugby union franchises. A fully functional league system could provide more playing opportunities for professional rugby players as it is not unheard of for players to switch between the two – Sonny Bill Williams being the most famous example of a player who has done so successfully. That Saru and Sascoc are unable to see its value because of its self-interest is a crying shame. DM