Greece Rugby League Test Match Previews and Score Predictions
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Greece are both an emerging nation that is new to the sport and a country that is mixing it with the best on the global stage as although they were only established in 2003 and only had a domestic competition established in 2013, they have already become the lowest ranked country to qualify for a Rugby league World Cup (RLWC) in 2021 via a qualification process that would, and should, make for a Hollywood blockbuster.
The Greek national side have developed from a heritage side playing in Australia, to a representative side featuring a mix of the best from Greece mixed with heritage players struggling for games across Europe to a World Cup qualifiers in under a decade, which is a great story for all new nations and an inspiration to all of us.
Greece Rugby League
There first ever home international took place on the 28th of October 2005 when took on and defeated Serbia by 44-26.
That win was in part the impotence for the establishment of the countries domestic competition, which has helped to develop a number of players who have gone on to represent their country and has allowed Greece to feature home grown talent alongside heritage stars.
Greek National Rugby League Team
That has been case for the Greek team as in 2016, the sport had to reset itself as the then governing body, the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League (HFRL), we suspended and then excelled for ‘ wilfully acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the RLEF and international Rugby League’.
Despite that and a number of other issues including Greece having to train in the early hours of the morning to avoid been shut down and the team having to play on the road for all of their matches, Greece shocked the world to reach the 2021 World Cup and the hope is that now the country have a new governing body and are recognised by the RLIF/RLEF, the future can be much more settled and they can build for the future.
Colours and Kit
As you would expect from a country representing Greece on the international stage, the main colours of the Greek national side in blue and white and whilst their kits do change from time to time, their shirts are predominantly white whilst their shorts are blue or they sometimes also features a shirt consisting of blue and white hoops.
Unsurprisingly, Greece have yet to enjoy success on the global stage but they have enjoyed limited success in local tournaments and in tournaments for emerging nations.
The country have yet to developed a break out star although they have had a number of household names to play for them under-heritage rules including Braith Anasta, Jason Demetriou, George Gatis, Michael Korkidas, Nick Kouparitsas, Blake Lazarus, Jordan Meads and John Skandalis.
That is not to say that the Greek domestic scene has not been a success for such a new and small offering with break out star Stefanos Bastas proving a trailblazer as the former Rhodes Knights amateur became the first Greek player to play professionally when he joined Hemel Stags before moving onto Doncaster and to ply his trade across the channel in France.
They continued to pay matches over the next decade including their first ever match against New Caledonia, their first sanctioned match against Italy and their first home match against Serbia.
The first big development came in 2013 when a domestic competition was established in Greece and soon after a mix of heritage players and local players thrashed Hungary by 90-0 in Budapest in a game that Braith Anasta scored 46 points.
The next few years saw a lot of problems away from the field and they failed to make many inroads but by 2018 a new governing body brought about new stability and the Greeks looked to make a name for themselves in the qualification process for the RLWC.
Despite defeating Ukraine in Kiev and Malta in Athens, in the South conference, they then needed to face the winners of the north conference, who were Norway but they managed to easily defeat them by 56-26.
That saw them step into Pool B of the European World Cup Qualifiers where they faced Scotland and Serbia and whilst they lost to Scotland in a game that took place in London due to them been banned from playing at home, they went to Belgrade and easily defeated Serbia to qualify for their first ever Rugby League World Cup where they faced the giants of England, Samoa, and France.
It is hoped that by featuring on the global stage and by representing Greece in front of millions of fans around the world, the national Rugby League team can finally get the recognition that they deserve at home and start to build for the future without restraints from their government and rival codes.