Malta vs Ukraine Rugby League World Cup Qualifier Preview

Group C's pool kicks off with Ukraine taking on Malta at the Marsa Sports Complex. This is the first meeting of these two nations in their brief histories, Malta playing their first game back in 2004 against the British Defence Forces while Ukraine made their International bow back in 2008 against the Great Britain Students select.

These two sides have prepared for the qualifiers in very different ways, Malta playing warm up games against South Africa losing 30-24 after starting the second half at a scoreline of 24-6 to South Africa as the Rhinos got of to an electrifying start. Ukraine prepared by sending 8 national players and their director, Artur Matroysan, to the UK to gain match experience playing with the Milford Marlins, a project that has proved highly successful and many other nations are looking to emulate.

Ukraine's 23 Man Squad - Sviatoslav Andrieichenko, Anatolii Hrankovskyi, Vladimir Karpenko, Mykhailo Kolodochka, Vladimir Mazepa, Dmytro Semerenko, Ihor Yurkin (Legion XIII Giants, Kharkiv), Dmytro Kaiyevich (Kiev Rhinos), Roman Bodnar, Ostap Hryshcenko, Ostap Kozak, Mykhailo Pavliv, Nazar Semion (Lviv Tigers), Serhii Kravchenko, Oleksandr Kozak, Oleksandr Shcherbyna, Oleksandr Skorbach, Oleksandr Syvokoz, Mykhailo Troian, Yevhenii Trusov, Bogdan Veprik (Milford Marlins), Vadim Poliykhovich, Volodymyr Radchyk (West Knights, Rivne) 

While Malta are ranked 18th in the rankings compared to Ukraine's 25th spot, the Ukrainian outfit are expected to be favourites to make it out of their group despite being the lowest in the pecking order as Greece slot in at 23rd. Ukraine are unbeaten at qualifying level are likely to continue this run after the astonishing development of their domestic game in the last 4 years.


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