Van der Elst (10,65), Bertrand (16,24,38), Guimard (18), Leclerq (30), ParÃ©e (55), Laachiri (79)
Å˜iÄica(63), Friedl (75)
Laachiri 5/7, ParÃ©e 2/2
Tony Benson's first outing as Belgian national team coach was a thumping win over a depleted Czech Republic in Brussels. Centre Yann Bertrand led the way with a hat-trick as Belgium proved too strong for a Czech side shorn of eight first choice players.
Benson (pictured) expressed his delight with the victory following a vide review of the nine-try triumph. "I am really happy with our progress and the development of depth within the Belgium squad," said the former Leigh and Oxford coach. "The gratifying thing for me is that we are able to maintain the skills we have been working on at training in the heat of battle during the match.
"Although we still have plenty of fine tuning to do, this means we can move on to the next stage in preparation for the match against Holland, which is true testament to the dedication and commitment of our players and staff. I am really excited and enthusiastic about our future.”
Two-try prop Guillaume Vander Elst, who opened the scoring, was named man of the match after a powerful display, complementing Bertrand's first-half hat-trick. Lelio Guilmard also crossed before the break to help establish a commanding 32-0 lead, scrum half Quentin Leclercq first across the whitewash in the second period. Stand off Marc Parée scored a try and two goals, centre Ilias Laachiri with the final touchdown to go with six conversions.
Belgium captain Josquin Dewinne said: ”The game was enjoyable. We really appreciated the friendship and the respect between the two teams. Compared to last year, the group has matured and we are getting more and more experience through the different instructions received from the coach. Tony Benson started to improve some of our basic skills and it is paying off on the field.”
“All credit to Czech Republic," said Belgian Rugby League Associatoin president Yves Kazadi. "I thank the referee, a Belgian, who has been trained through the RLEF rogramme that has given us the opportunity to increase the spread of match officials. We will have to continue our learning process against Holland and Malta. In accordance with Tony Benson every game this year is a bonus and the result will be an increase tin he culture of Rugby League in Belgium.”
In a further sign of the growing strength of the sport in Belgium, North Brussels Gorrilas played a club match on the same day in the BENE Cup, defeating Amsterdam Cobras 38-6.
Simon Troquereau, Idriss Tiogum, Ilias Laachiri, Yann Bertrand, Lelio Guimard, Marc Paree, Quentin Leclerc, Agim Coroli, Christopher Eyns, Guillaume van der Elst, Adam Bahamou, Ylies Chaouch, Josquin De Winne. Subs: Redouane Cridi, Gilian van Haselt, Steven Garofalo, Nicolas Bourgin.
Filip ŠpaÄek, Martin ÄŒernohorský, Jan Hovard, Otto Friedl, Radoslav Vejchoda, Jaroslav BÅ¾och, Patrik Koliska, Petr Franta, Tomáš Å˜iÄica, JiÅ™í Sluka, JiÅ™í Válek, Lukáš Holub, Jan Heininger. Subs: Aleš Peška, Kamil Havel, Miroslav Bruna, Jan PleskaÄ