A French-based Morocco XIII won the opening fixture of this summer’s three-cornered Euro-Med Challenge with a 29-6 success in the beautiful setting of Torroella de Montgri, against Catalonia XIII.
Over 1,000 fans who created a terrific atmosphere, including Catalonia’s Foreign Affairs minister Ignaci Donate, enjoyed an entertaining, exciting clash with the visitor’s greater experience seeing them home.
The Moroccans included eight players who play in the French Elite One competition, their opening try scorer in the 13th minute being former Catalans Dragons winger, Rabat-born Youniss Khattabi, playing at stand off and now with Carpentras.
On a synthetic pitch, in warm conditions, full back Brahim Nahri doubled the Moroccan’s lead in the 22nd minute and just before half time Lyon prop Abdessamad Rachid crossed for their third touchdown.
The Catalonian’s, fresh from their success against a Czech President’s XIII in Barcelona recently, hit back eight minutes into the second half, Christian Pelissier grabbing the try, converted by captain Albert Homs, which was due reward for the hosts’ effort.
Centre Farid Nicholas with the Moroccan’s fourth touchdown in the 58th minute sealed the historic win, scrum half Osni Kriouache making sure with a drop goal soon after.
The final points went to Villeneuve second rower Ilyass Lamarti who crossed late on to go with his four goals.
1- Julien Lebon (CNPN engineers)
2- Pau Puigdollers (CRN Sant Cugat)
3- Jose Plegezuelos (CR Tarragona)
4- Fernando Fernandez (BUC)
5- Roger Ferrates (BUC)
6- Albert Homs (GEIEG) captain
7- Aitor Figueruelo (BUC)
8- Tchoumi Calvin (CE INES LLEIDA)
9- Joan Petanas (CE INES)
10- Sergi Petanas (CE INES)
11- Sebastien Amigas (UTC - France)
12- Jordi Gimenez
13- Sergi Calzada (BUC)
14- Marc Lopez (CNPN engineers)
15- Emergol Alemany (BUC)
16- Raoul Val-llozada (CA VIC CRANCS)
17- Christian Pelissier (GEIEG)
18- Jordi Sanchez (CNPN engineers)
Try: Pelissier (48)
1, Nhari Brahim (Club De Baho, Fr )
2, Yousri Aissam (Club De Toulouse J.J., Fr)
3, Laaziri Hassan (Club De Cavaillon, Fr)
4, Nicolas Farid (Club De Villeneuve / Lot)
5, Mouzoun Khalid (Club De Montpellier, Fr)
6, Khattabi Youness (Club De Carpentras, Fr)
7, Kriouache Osni (Club De St Gaudens, Fr)
8, Rachid Abdessamad (Club De Lyon, Fr)
9, El Boutchi Hocine (Club De Palau, Fr )
10, Djamil Mohamed (Club De U.T.Catalans, Fr)
11, Taouil Amar (Club De Salses, Fr)
12, Lamarti Ilyass (Club De Villeneuve/ Lot, Fr)
13, Faresse Rachid (Club De Avignon, Fr)
14, Fakir Lhoucine (Club De Villeneuve / Lot, Fr)
15, El Boutchi Hacene (Club De Palau, Fr)
16, Oulias Abdelali (Club De Toulouse J.J.)
17, Bouladas Mohamed (Club de Montpellier, Fr)
Tries: Khattabi (13), Hhari (22), Rahid (37), Nicolas (58), Lamarti (68)
Goals: Lamarti 4
Drop goal: Kriouache
Referee: Christophe Grandjean
Hull KR hooker John Boudebza has been suspensed for four matches for his tackle on Castleford centre Michael Shenton.
After an interesting first round of matches in European rugby league’s second tier, we take a look at some of the biggest highlights of the weekend.
Huddersfield hooker Luke Robinson has been forced to retire because of a hip injury.
Hooker Adam Milner has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Castleford until the end of the 2018 campaign.
Ryan Lannon has signed a new three-year contract with Salford that ties him to the club until the end of 2018.