Netherlands women made a highly impressive debut against Greece at the Municipal Stadium Dimitris Nikolaidis. The Dames took a party of 70 players and fans to Athens, playing an ‘A’ team game and a senior women’s international and did not concede a point, winning 32-0 in the curtain raiser and 14-0 in the main game.
Fullback Nicole Kennedy had the honour of scoring their first senior try which came early in the game, Danique Nikkels adding the conversion and Steph van Diepen looking dangerous every time she touched the ball when coming off the bench.
Lisa Berding ploughed over on the left wing to add a further score before half time to make it 0-10 at the break.
Greece props Sophia Margarita Kitsaneli and Maria-Anna Lamprou gained the upper hand in the second half, but the home side could not turn any of the chances they created into points, with the Netherlands marker defence consistently excellent.
Hannah Van Beukering broke the second half deadlock to complete an historic win for the visitors.
Netherlands women head coach, Matt Rigby, commented: “Our teams were exceptional across both games, they did themselves and their nation proud. There’s a lot of work gone on behind the scenes and to get the performances we did was rewarding. To keep a clean sheet in both games goes to show the heart and desire these girls have for each other and they defended their line incredibly.”
He added: “Looking to next year, the RLWC Qualifiers will be on our minds most, but we’re just happy to be playing internationals. One of the next steps is for a formal women’s domestic competition to be born and that will further enhance the quality and skill of the women’s game in the Netherlands.”
His opposite number, Stuart McLennan, noted: “Congratulations to the Netherlands on a win first up. We were beaten by a better side but I was proud of the bravery and commitment we showed. It was our toughest match so far and we will learn a lot from the loss. Overall, I’m happy with the way we have performed this year.”
Sophia Anagnostopoulou, Dimitra Papoutsi, Rosemary Van De Goor, Isaia Maragkou, Velissaria Koutsioumpa, Christina Makri, Magdalini Stavrianou, Sophia Margarita Kitsaneli, Asimina Mastoraki, Maria-Anna Lamprou, Georgia-Fotini Koutsimpogeorgou, Katerina Varypati, Styliani Markou
Interchanges: Giota Alevra, Anna Limperi, Vasiliki Roumpi, Eleftheria Angeli
Nicole Kennedy, Danique Nikkels, Lisa Berding, Anniek Nauta, Hannah Van Beukering, Hiske Blom, Rixt Aerts, Sele Steenkist, Vera Van Der Zwan, Lorraine Voorbach, Clara Terlouw, Sylvie Moelee, Linneke Gevers
Interchanges: Staphanie Van Diepen, Lotte Westerlaken, Kyra Elzinga, Dominique Velema
Tries: Kennedy (7), Berding (38), Van Beukering (72)
Goals: Nikkels 1/3
Referee: Misa Vakadranu (Fiji)
Half Time: 0-10