Turkey make international debut

Turkey have made their international debut facing Greek Titans at the Kallipatira Stadium on the island of Rhodes.

Turkey has been playing rugby league for less than a year. The hosts, featuring 12 players from the domestic RLEF Greek Rugby League competition, won 86-0 but the Turks – who reached the final of the Rhodes 8s in the build-up – showed great promise.

The Greeks were in control from the start with centre Mitchell Zampetides, who finished with six touchdowns, and Rhodes winger Panayiotis Lampousis both scoring a brace of tries to give the home side a 16-0 lead after 23 minutes.

Zampetides registered his hat trick in the 28th minute before he was sin binned soon after, whilst Turkey lost centre Onur Ersoy, sent off for alleged kicking out, and playing with one less player began to take its toll.

Winger Yiannis Valasas from the Aris Eagles club in Athens, finished off a back line move to score in the 35th minute and give the Titans a 26-0 lead at the interval.

The second half was a one-way affair with the Titans racing in for 60 unanswered points. It took six minutes after the re-commencement for the home side to score through skipper Jordan Meads, who also landed nine goals.

Spiros Kigais, a late replacement for the popular Pantelis Arfaras, crossed minutes later before a Lampousis break resulted in Meads scoring another four-pointer.

A powerful tackle from Zampetides jolted the ball loose for hooker Ryan Kambouris to score in the 56th minute, Meads adding the extras to bring up the half-century.

Zampetides then scored two quick tries, Aristoteli Taktikos went over in the 66th minute and Michael Lekkas, a popular figure in Rhodes, raced down the touchline to score two minutes later.

Zampetides recorded try number six before Aris Dardamanis and Nikos Bosmos showed some great skill and pace to complete the rout.

“Tonight was about showing how much progress the Greek boys have made. Most of the team came from the local competition and it illustrated how much good work is being done in Greece,” said winning captain Meads.

Turkey are planning on hosting the Greeks next year and will commence their domestic competition shortly with five clubs involved.

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