Calegari (6, 39), Celerino (24), Peens (45), Boscolo (58), Lepori (61)
Cuk (19, 78), StevanoviÄ‡ (36,48)
Fontana 1/2, Peens 3/4
Vojislav DediÄ‡ 2/3, Vukanovic 0/1
EUROPEAN SHIELD 2012-13 - GAME 12
A man of the match performance from Richard Lepori, who’s try on the hour secured victory, saw the Azzurri claim second spot in the final European Shield table, in a captivating clash.
The Oldham winger paid his own way over to don the Italian shirt in an effort to make it into their World Cup squad and was happy to get the job done.
“I really enjoyed it, Serbia gave it a real dig, they were tough and ran hard,” he said. “We had to battle in defence but stuck to our plan of trying to get the ball wide and scored most of our points down the flanks.”
The Serbians started impressively, dominating the early exchanges but Lepori proved to be their undoing, catching a kick and breaking free over 80 metres, his offload sending Christophe Calegari in for the opening score in the sixth minute, Remi Fontana goaling.
The visitors continued to pose problems, Stevan StevanoviÄ‡ knocking on over the line on the back of a 40-20 but they were rewarded when Vojislav DediÄ‡ chipped to the corner and Marko Ä†uk dotted down for an unconverted try.Ray Nasso knocked on with the line beckoning but the Italians increased their lead when Gioele Celerino crossed.
Dorcol Spiders’ experienced scrum half Dalibor VukanoviÄ‡ put StevanoviÄ‡, running a great a great line, through a gap from ten metres out to go over, Vojislav DediÄ‡ converting to level but on the final play of the first half, Serbia pushed a pass in their own half and Calegari swooped for his second touchdown.
Italian pressure at the start of the second period saw Gert Peens go over and convert his own try but a short sided play saw StevanoviÄ‡ across to cut the gap to six points.
An evasive run from Lepori, who was a handful throughout, saw local hooker Simone Boscolo sneak over and Lepori gained his reward soon after, Peens goaling both.Two minutes from time, Cuk claimed his brace after a tight contest in the final quarter.
Serbian coach Marko JankoviÄ‡ had nothing but praise for his player’s efforts. “Today showed that local players can compete with what I think was the strongest side in the competition, playing for World Cup spots” he said.“
This was a triumph for all those who have been involved in rugby league development in Europe for a number of years, it was a great contest. The future is on our side, this is a great format for us to continue to progress.”
Pictured: Richard Lepori plots a course through Serbia's defence.
Fabrizio Ciaurro, Richard Lepori, Christophe Calegari, Ivan Barani, Riccardo Scandurra, Remi Fontana, Chris De Meyer, Chris Vitaliani, Ray Nasso, Cedric Prizzon, Gioele Celerino, Giovanni Franchi, Jonathon Marcinczak, Michele Verardi, Gert Peens, Simone Boscol, Drake Muyodi
Miloš ZogoviÄ‡, Mihailo BoškoviÄ‡, Miloš Ä†aliÄ‡, Marko MilenkoviÄ‡, Marko Ä†uk, Vojislav DediÄ‡, Dalibor VukanoviÄ‡, Lazar Å½ivkoviÄ‡, Vladislav DediÄ‡, Dejan LukeniÄ‡, Vladica NikoliÄ‡, Stevan StevanoviÄ‡, Stefan NedeljkoviÄ‡, Igor Vratnjan, Å½arko KovaÄeviÄ‡, Mirko BoÅ¾oviÄ‡, Pero MadÅ¾areviÄ‡