Beroun Schools Battle It Out in Rugby League Thriller

A press release from the Czech Association of Rugby League (CZARL)

A last-second try-saving tackle by Czech international Kuba Hrbac secured a win for Hlinky school Under-18s in the first junior domestic Rugby League game held in the Czech Republic. Hlinky school, in the city of Beroun, defeated crosstown rivals Zavodi by 42-38 in a modified-rules nine-a-side game.

Fullback Hrbac was beaten to the man-of-the-match award by team-mate David Dolak who scored two tries and worked tirelessly in defense to hand Hlinky an early lead before Zavodi rallied to go in 18-18 at the break. The second half saw Hlinky again pull away to a sizeable lead before a stunning late comeback by Zavodi, led superbly by captain Honza Buben who scored three tries and kicked several conversions, and centre Lada Sebek who was pulled down inches short of the try line on the final play to be denied a game-tying score.

Coach Michal Priputen was suitably proud of the efforts of his players. "It was an exiting match with some big hits and great skills on show, and the intensity was pretty high throughout. The Zavodi guys will be hoping to even the score in the rematch in March."

The Beroun schools have been training for almost a year, playing one full match against a UK touring side in summer before supplying several representatives for the Euro Under-16s tournament in Belgrade and will compete as a joint team against visiting teams from the UK in 2008.

Also playing in the game were guest players from the Prague international schools, who have been participating in rugby training sessions for several months and will be competing in more Rugby League matches next season.

Rugby League differs from Union, who recently held a world cup, in that there are 13 players on a League team, two fewer than Union, and the emphasis is more on speed, ball skills and strong defence rather than kicking, rucking and mauling.

Czech Rugby League Development Manager Andrew Fairhurst, who officiated the fixture, added "The game was a great display of attacking Rugby League and it's encouraging to see guys like this take to the game so well. This game was a precursor to a bigger junior competition next season and on today's showing the future looks promising."

The Czech RL is always on the lookout for new players at both junior and senior level for the 2008 season, and can be contacted on [email protected].

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