The fixtures for the southern group of the first-ever Euro B Women’s competition have been confirmed. The opening game will see Turkey host Greece at Istanbul Technical University on Saturday 25 September and the following weekend Greece welcome Serbia to the Goritsa Stadium near Aspropygos, just outside of Athens, for Greece’s first international match since rugby league achieved government recognition.
The final game sees Serbia take on Turkey in Belgrade on Saturday 8 October, and on the same day Ireland will host Wales at Malahide RFC, near Dublin, in a winner takes all encounter to conclude the north group.
The southern group fixtures mark a debut in competitive women’s rugby league for all three nations having previously played friendlies. Turkey are looking forward to opening the competition on home soil.
“We are very excited to be taking part,” said Fatih Cetinkaya, vice president of the Turkish Rugby League Association. “We will use these competitive games to prepare our team for next year’s Rugby League World Cup 2025 qualifying tournament and give them some valuable game time at international level, We look forward to welcoming Greece to Istanbul and to visiting Belgrade for our first international away game with this team.”
Greece’s participation in the competition will mark the beginning of a high-profile period of international rugby league for the nation, with their men’s team taking part in the Rugby League World Cup later in October.
“I cannot describe how excited we feel as a squad to face both Turkey and Serbia,” noted captain Rania Koutsikou. “At the moment we are extremely focused on our preparation and the girls are working hard even during summer, and the coaching team has really set the level higher. We want to be ready and reflect all this hard work on the field, we want to make a statement with our game.”
Serbia’s women’s national team are still in search of their first win but have a new coach in Amanda Wilkinson, who won the inaugural Women’s Super League with Wigan and currently coaches Barrow’s women. “We are working to prepare our girls for the competition and made some positive changes,” explained Marija Maslaković, Serbia’s women’s team lead. “Our goal is to be the first in the tournament. We’ve had a summer camp in Sokobanja to prepare and made a lot of progress.”
Wales and Ireland go into their final game in the north with Ireland needing to win by 19 points to secure overall victory in their first home game. “To finally get to play in front of our own crowd will be a very special occasion not just for the team but the players' families and friends and our board,” noted John Whalley, Ireland head coach. “With our previous meeting with Wales being only a two-point difference and going our way, this encounter has the makings of a fantastic Test Match.”
Wales head coach, Tom Brindle, added:. “Our aims for 2022 was to deliver positive performances and continue our development and preparation as we head toward RLWC25 qualifiers. I’ve was happy with our progression against England and pleased to get our first win against Italy, this game will be another measure of our progress. Last year was a quality game between us and I am expecting more of the same.”
2022 Euro B Women Fixtures
Turkey v Greece – Sunday 25 September (kick off 2pm)
Greece v Serbia – Sunday 2 October (3pm)
Serbia v Turkey – Saturday 8 October (2pm)
Ireland v Wales – Saturday 8 October (kick off TBC)
Results to date –
Italy 6 Ireland 30 – Saturday 11 June
Wales 60 Italy 0 – Saturday 19 June