EUROPA CUP - STUDENT RUGBY LEAGUE
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England won the inaugural European Cup after they defeated host nation Tartarstan 34-16 at the Central Stadium of Kazan. The home side took an early lead after an intercept try from Michail Mitrafanov and took with them a slight lead at half-time. The English re-grouped after the break with two tries in three minutes from Andy Poynter to hit the front for the first time in the game. Further tries followed from Paul Thorman and Germaine Coleman to make it 28-10 mid-way through the second stanza. Andy Howcroft went over for another touchdown for the visitors with nine minutes remaining before Tartarstan finished the game with a consolation try right on full-time.
Host nation Tartarstan will meet England in the final of the Europa Cup Student Rugby League tournament after they beat Wales 26-10 in the semi-final in front of a crowd of almost 4,000 at Stadium Rubin. Tartarstan dominated most of the game with Rinat Shamshudinou leading the way with two touchdowns with the other four pointers coming from Adel Saffiullin and Michail Mitrofanou.
In the other semi-final, England scraped through with a 13-12 win over Scotland at Stadium Locomotiv after sudden-death was required to break the 12-all dead-line at the end of 80 minutes. It was left to Gateshead Thunder player Paul Thorman to kick the match-winning field goal.
The tournament has been a huge success with a crowd of 16,000 present at the opening of the tournament last week at Stadium Locomotiv with the government of former Soviet State of Tartarstan eager to help the development of Rugby League after the huge turnout clearly illustrated that Rugby League is a sleeping giant in Russia and all the former Soviet states.
GROUP A: Tartarstan 38-12Ireland, England 30-12 Tartarstan , England 38-10 Ireland - Competition table: England 4pts, Tartarstan 2, Ireland 2.
GROUP B: Scotland 38-16 Russia, Wales 20-20 Russia, Wales 19-8 Scotland. - Other matches: Wales 49-20 NSW, NSW 42-18 Scotland, NSW 24-4 Russia, (New South Wales Universities are not involved in the competition proper)
SEMI-FINALS: England 13-12 Scotland, Tartarstan 26-10 Wales.
FINAL: 15/09/01 - England 34-16 Tartarstan @ The Central Stadium of Kazan.
3rd PLACE PLAY-OFF - 10/09/01 - Scotland 19-8 Wales.
The final rankings of the tournament
Scotland Students Rugby League Squad:
Reporting by Kate Cochrane, Media Officer for the Scotland Students Rugby League.