Greece women win rugby league Balkan Cup

Despite torrential rain in the lead up, a crowd of over 500 in Bojnik – a new location for the sport 300km south of the capital Belgrade – saw Greece’s women just hold on to defeat Serbia 8-4 in a senior international and lift the Balkan Cup.

As the weather improved in an exciting contest, Cardiff Demons’ loose forward Rania Koutsikou posted the winning try seven minutes from time. Greece women’s head coach, Stuart McLennan, said: “It was a very close, tough encounter. Serbia have improved tremendously since we last played them, but our defence was solid to keep them out.

“We’ve had nine new players in our team and in the second half they came together a lot more. The crowd was fantastic, they love their rugby league here. We’ll be playing the Netherlands in their first women’s international next month which will be another excellent test for this group.”

Serbia took the lead on the half hour from scrum half Jelena Stojiljkovic and were much improved on the previous match between the nations in 2022’s Women’s Euro B competition, which Greece won 28-0, and held their opponents out for an hour.

“It was great to see such a large crowd come out to support the team and they really got behind us towards the end of the game,” noted Serbia women’s head coach, Slobodan Manak. “It was a good game to watch, it could have gone either way and unfortunately it did for Greece, but I must congratulate them on their win. I am sure if we keep going, the next game for us will bring victory.”

Serbia Rugby League are now planning to site a new club in the municipality.

SERBIA 4

Tamara Bosnjak, Ljiljana Bajic, Teodora Micic, Nika Bajic, Marija Stosic, Katarina Veljanoski, Jelena Stojiljkovic, Teodora Marin, Natasa Kovacevic, Jovana Fridl, Sanja Starcevic, Anna Liuter, Marija Maslakovic Interchanges: Dragana Zezelj, Natalija Simic, Marija Simovic, Sofija Kovacevic

Try: Stojiljkovic (30)

Goals: Bosnjak 0/1

GREECE 8

Sophia Anagnostopoulou, Paula Grosyk, Dimitra Papoutsi, Isaia Maragkou, Velissaria Koutsioumpa, Magdalini Stavrianou, Asimina Mastoraki, Anna Limperi, Chrysiida Lymperidi, Myrsini Pappa, Georgia-Fotini Koutsimpogeorgou, Christina Makri, Rania Koutsikou

Interchanges: Giota Alevra, Katerina Varypati, Maria-Anna Lamprou, Eleftheria Angeli

Tries: Koutsioumpa (61), Koutsikou (73)

Goals: Pappa 0/2

Referee: Misa Vakadranu (Fiji)

Half Time: 4-0