A hat trick of tries from outstanding centre Joran Schoenmaker - the second a sensational solo effort - saw Netherlands claim the Euro D Championship, with a 36-10 win over Czechia at the Huseyin Akar Tesisler Stadium in Bodrum, Turkey.
The Orange Lions led 14-0 at the break, Auke Idzerda having kicked three early penalties, and though Czechia admirably kept going to the end with two consolation tries, Netherlands not only win promotion to Euro B but continue on the Rugby League World Cup 2025 qualifying road.
Head coach Kane Krlic, who is standing down after five years in charge, paid tribute to his side. “That showed a lot of what Dutch rugby league is about,” he said. “Working hard for each other, I’m just really proud. Now that we are increasing the domestic competition, this team is only going to get stronger and I can’t wait to see the growth. These lads love representing the country and love the sport as well.”
Second half tries from Shaden Lavia, winger Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz pouncing a loose ball, and rangy back rower Daniel De Ruiter put Netherlands 30 points up, but Czechia stand off Daniel Veselý led a late revival taking a fine off load to snipe over and converting Black Angels Hodonín’s Tomas Kasik’s score, before Schoenmaker completed his treble.
“We lost our captain and hooker Tomáš Řičica early on and we made a lot of mistakes, so in the first half we were only defending,” said Czechia head coach David Lahr, for whom Jan Hovard was a stand out. “To lose in the final, I am very proud of this very young squad.”
The Netherlands, with Den Haag Knights prop Bonne Wilce also outstanding, were presented with the trophy by officials from the Bodrum Municipality, who supported the Championship, and the French Consul General.
Laury Renac, Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz, Joran Schoenmaker, Edson Neves, Isaacs Ngirubiu, Auke Idzera, Ben Dommershuijsen, Mauricio Gomez Pazos, Paul Dirkzwager, Bonne Wilce, Daniel De Ruiter, Paul Kuijpers, Frank Longhurst
Subs (all used): Lucas Gout, Shadan Lavia, Romeo Goldman, Adam Braksator
Tries: Schoenmaker (8, 22, 77), Lavia (44), Razoux Schultz (53), De Ruiter (60)
Goals: Idzera 6/9
Matěj Greenwood, Martin Kubát, Tomáš Kasík, Filip-Daniel Kittl, Antonín Berk, Daniel Veselý, Jakub Hudrlík, Jan Říha, Tomáš Řičica, David Bělohlávek, Taras Turkevyč, Jan Hovard, Ondřej Preininger
Subs (all used): Josef Chuchlík, Erik Schulz, Josef Brynda, Jan Pecháček
Tries: Veselý (64), Kasík (72)
Goals: Veselý 1/2
Half time: 14-0
Referee: Eamonn Whelan (Ireland)
In the match for third place and world ranking points, hosts Turkey were too strong in the second half for Malta, winning 36-12, in 27 degree heat and in front of a partisan crowd that included professional Aiden Sezer, part of the Turkish staff, who flew in for the game.
The sides were level at the break, but with no available substitutes Malta struggled to contain the home pack in the second period. Turkey posted seven tries, all from different scorers, scrum half Behzad Bayram finishing with 12 points and Kadiköy Bulls’ Doruk Çeliktutan, returning from an early sinbinning, breaking the deadlock after the interval.
Julien Treu, Turkey head coach commented: “We are very happy with the result. We had to refocus after the loss to the Netherlands on Thursday and we had the right attitude to finish this tournament on a good, positive note. We want more international games, we showed that we can host and we want to reach a higher level soon, the guys are keen and we have a strong team on and off the pitch.”
Excellent prop Dean Zammit collected Zarrin Galea’s kick for Malta’s first score on the half hour, hooker Robin Cutajar following him over four minutes later in a spirited overall effort.
“I cannot fault the efforts of our players,” Malta head coach Roderick Attard noted. “We had guys who were injured playing the full 80 minutes, they gave their all and it was not a walk in the park for the Turks so I am proud of them.”
Miraç Ertürk, Can Günersu, Eren Kemal Şen, Errol Carter, Batuhan Balçin, Ozan Işik, Behzad Bayram, Alperen Kademli, Oğuzhan Demir, Çağas Çiçek, Oğuzhan Tirendez, Mert Tayyar Berktav, Doruk Çeliktutan
Subs (all used): Ahmet Tarik Tekin, Kemal Ege Gürkan, Yusuf Can Tunç, Ömer Faruk Pir
Tries: Demir (2), Işik (12), Çeliktutan (42), Bayram (46), Balçin (52), Tayyar Berktav (63), Tirendez (79)
Goals: Bayram 4/7
Sin bin: Çeliktutan (6 - dangerous tackle)
Mark Cammilleri, James Grech, Christian Briffa, Cameron Brown, Jean-Pierre Zarb, Karl Cassar, Zarrin Galea, Jeremy Dela, Robin Cutajar, Dean Zammit, Alfie Jewitt, Russell Bugeja, Justin Barlogio
Sub (used): Justin Farrugia
Tries: Zammit (29), Cutajar (33)
Goals: Galea 2/2
Half time: 12-12
Referee: Jarda Bzoch (Czechia)