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Match report: Greece finish third thanks to 26-18 defeat of Hungary

Luke Jobson
Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds

Greece sealed third place in the Emerging Nations World Championship, edging Hungary 26-18 in an exciting clash at St Marys.

This was Greece and Hungary’s second meeting of the tournament, with Greece looking to make amends after losing 20-18 on the opening day.

A very nervous start from Hungary proved costly, with a poor error on their first set setting them back a try. Greece crossed through George Tsikrikas who charged over from short range to open the scoring.The conversion from Sam Stratis was successful, giving Greece a 6-0 lead after three minutes.

Minutes later, Stratis crossed for a try of his own after a perfectly worked play. The ball was swung to the left-hand side, and a few Hungarian defenders were caught out, allowing Stratis to go in untouched. He missed the conversion attempt from the left hand sideline to leave the score at 10-0 after 20 minutes.

Penalties and errors would cost both sides as the match headed towards half time. Hungary tried everything to get on the board and, in the end, they used a short-side play to allow Paul Ivan to barrel over the defence.

Jared Farkas converted his tough first attempt from the right-hand sideline to make it 10-6 after half an hour.

It wouldn’t take long for Greece to restore their lead, with some fancy footwork off a Hungarian error allowing for an attacking set just before half time. Peter Mamouzelos sold a huge dummy and go over to score right before the break for Greece. Sam Stratis converted the easy attempt from in front to give Greece a 16-6 lead at half time.

Mamouzelos started the second half the same way that he finished the first, going over for his second try with a dummy half dive from just a metre out. Stratis missed his attempt on goal, with the score at 20-6 after 43 minutes.

Hungary hit back almost immediately, with a huge bomb from Jared Farkas causing all sorts of issues for the Greek backline. Zarounas gathered it eventually, but Paul McKewin stripped the ball from the fullback and reached over to score next to the posts. Jared Farkas converted his second attempt to give Hungary a sniff at 20-12 after 50 minutes.

The Hungarians went back-to-back, with another great set putting them in good field position. Kardly Aksai got a short ball from dummy half and spun out of a tackle to score on the left edge, opening this game right up. Jared Farkas converted his third attempt to bring the score back to 20-18 with 25 minutes still to play.

Greece ended up scoring next, with a  try well and truly against the run of play. George Tsikrikas picked up a loose ball from a Hungary error and ran 30 metres, carrying over three defenders at the end to plant the ball down on the left edge.

Stratis missed the crucial kick to leave the game poised at 24-18, but a penalty goal three minutes later gave Greece a crucial eight-point lead at 26-18.

Hungary threw everything at the Greek defence, but they could not break through and Greece held on to win 26-18 and take third place.

Greece: 26
Tries – George Tsikrikas, Sam Stratis, Peter Mamouzelos (2), George Tsikrikas
Goals – Stratis (3)

Hungary: 18
Tries – Paul Ivan, Paul McKewin, Kardly Aksai
Goals – Jared Farkas (3)

 

Team Lists:

Greece Hungary
Laurence Zarounas Fullback Cruize Turay
Kosta Katsidonis Wing Gergely Nagy
Nick Mougios Centre Brent Varga
Sam Stratis Centre Paul McKewin
Dimos Kartsonakis Wing Nathan Farkas
Alex Zarounas Five-eighth Jared Farkas
Tremaine Terzis Halfback David Farkas
Billy Tsikrikas Prop Daniel Ivan
Peter Mamouzelos Hooker Dane Weatherill
Stefanos Bastas Prop Simon Kalufusz
George Tsikrikas Second Row Billy Mozer
Mitch Zampetides Second Row Paul Ivan
Terry Constantinou Lock Gyula Nikoletti
Jake Vrahnos Interchange Josh Warner
Giannis Rosoglou Interchange Lenard Grimm
Robert Tuliutu Interchange Joel Saaghy
Teli Efstratios Interchange Mark Czifra