Friday, November 19, 2010

RUGBY TEST MATCH: Rivals Cyprus and Greece Clash

Cyprus v Greece in Athens (ENC 2D)

Venue: Aigaleo Municipal Stadium
"Aigaleo is a new rugby club formed this year and taking part in its first Greek Championship, so a bit of an honour to host an international game. The stadium is the home of Aegaleo FC and holds 8,217 seated though record attendence is over 17 000". Thanks to 'Quentin' at


Referee: Bartolic (Croatia) added 20.11.2010

You know what it's like when brothers have a good rivalry and it's a family reunion. Sparks fly but in the end, well..they are brothers after all. This is the relationship between Greeks and Cypriots. They are related by race and by language. So we have a grand rivalry. Perhaps a bit like New Zealanders and their cousins the Aussie across the Tasman.

These two teams have only played each other once before in an international rugby test match. That was back in 2007. At the time it was Greece's sixth test match whilst it was Cyprus' first. The Greeks arrived in Paphos to teach the locals (younger brothers you see) all about the game of rugby. What a shock when at the end of the game younger brother had won 39-3! It may not have been Greece's strongest side but it was still their national side.

Cyprus v Greece 1st international
Cyprus v Greece, March 2007. A 39-3 win for Cyprus.

Since that day in March 2007, Cyprus has joined the European Nations Cup tournament, joining at the lowest level. Since then they have only lost one test match, against Israel in September 2008. This was a promotion playoff to see who would rise up a level. Israel won this home game for them and Cyprus stayed behind for 2008-10 competition.

In that competition Cyprus remained undefeated and rose into the new ENC 2D. And who should also be in that competition? Non other than big brother Greece!

Greece were promoted to ENC 3C for 2008-10 in May 2007. They lost twice to Israel and once to Bulgaria, the last match in April this year. Israel was promoted and Greece stayed behind. Ironically their new coach was Cyprus' coach on that day back in 2007. He has brought in nine new players into the squad after injuries, unavailability and poor form from the team that by 3 points to Bulgaria two weeks ago.

So at last these two teams of Greeks from the Mediterranean clash. This time it is in Athens and I don't think younger brother will catch his older sibling as unawares this time round. I would love to be in Athens for this one. I reckon it'll be a cracker!

Another preview here

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Greece 35th, Cyprus 38th

IRB Rankings do not apply.

Prediction: Greece will have too much grunt, especially with the South Africans in the side. Greece by 20 points.



Greece Squad (Updated 20.11.2010)
Dimitri Amaris (Imperial College London, England)
Michael Artemis (Dendermonde, Belgium)
Dean Bertos (Merewether Carlton, Australia)
James Bertos (Merewether Carlton, Australia)
Nikos Christodoulakis (Wits University, South Africa)
Jason Dagdelinis (Iraklis)
Antonis Demertis (Athens Spartans)
Tony Divaris (Wits University, South Africa)
Marios Goumagias (Iraklis)
Mikele Jorgo (Wits University, South Africa)
Kostas Karandreas (Athens)
Dimitris Katsafrakis (Athens)
George Kouroumixakis (Iraklis)
Demosthenis Kyriazis (Athens)
Mark Martin (Athens)
William Martin (Bath University, England)
Ioannis Papacostopoulos (Athens Spartans)
Stathis Papadopoulos (Iraklis)
Nick Penna (Melbourne Broncos, Australia)
Nicholas Revelas (Wits University, South Africa)
Jeremy Raftos, Capt. (Eastern Suburbs RFC, Australia)
George Tsatsaronis (Athens)
Head Coach: Nial Doherty

Out from v Bulgaria
Alex Gounari (Vincennes, France)
Giorgos Soilemezidis (Iraklis)
Kostas Raftopoulos (Athens Spartans)
Thomas Mamakopoulos (Massy, France)
Evangelos Tsakalidis (Thessaloniki Lions)
Nathan Courcelle (Attica Springboks)
Chris Evangelidis (Windsor RFC, England)
Marios Goumagias (Iraklis)
Alex Ferentinos (Shelford RFC, England)


Cyprus Squad not yet available

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