19 Apr 2024

The most prolific season of domestic competition in Greece comes to a climax over the next two weekends, with the men’s Grand Final this Sunday at the Gkorytsas Rugby Field, Aspropyrgos (kick off 5.30pm local time), and the women’s the week after. Five clubs competed in the men’s first division, playing eight rounds of games, with reigning champions Rhodes Knights going through the campaign undefeated.

Competition for second place was fierce with three teams in the running until the final stages, Aris Eagles booking their spot in the decider after holding off the challenge of AEK. “The stakes are high and the season has been so competitive that we are flying international referee Andrew Pilkington in for this one,” said GRLA president George Stilianos of the men’s decider.

“Last weekend saw Athens Raiders (last place in the first division) face Athens Sharks (top of the second division) in a promotion/relegation play off match which the Raiders won 48-12, so there will be no movement between divisions for next season. Our second division was also very competitive, with a three-way tie at the top, Sharks reaching the playoffs based on points difference. Only newcomers Promitheas Dafni were winless at the bottom.”

Stilianos continued: “Next Sunday (28/4) is the Women's Grand Final between the current champions Aris Eagles and Athens Raiders. Many of these girls are backing up from last weekend's France vs Greece match and will then play again three weeks later in the vital 2026 World Cup qualifier against Serbia.

“It’s only a couple of years ago that we were talking about games being held in secret and so this, with official government recognition now, represents massive growth. Playing regular games has kept everyone engaged and committing to the next goal along the way. Domestic competition is what we are all about and has led to the advances for the men’s team who played in the last World Cup and women’s who are striving for the next one.”