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Malta to face Greece and the Czech Republic

The Maltese Rugby League national team will be playing in the European Championship C this year.

The Maltese Rugby League national team will be playing in the European Championship C this year.

Malta will open their 2014 European Championship C commitments with a match against Greece in June before travelling to Havlichkuv Brod to tackle the Czech Republic, the Rugby Lea-gue European Federation (RLEF) has announced.

The announcement was made as the RLEF introduced European Championship branding to its three-tiers of official competition, aligning the organisation with the majority of European sports.

The European Cup will now be known as the European Cham-pionship, while the Shield and Bowl are replaced by European Championship B and European Championship C.

The B and C championships are already linked and the RLEF is planning for all competitions to have a connecting relationship of some degree, pending confirmation of the Rugby League International Federation’s multi-year calendar.

For the Maltese, it will be a return to European competition after a quiet 2013.

Their last competitive fixture was a 74-12 drubbing of Denmark, in Copenhagen, which saw the 22-in-the-world ranked Malta win the Dove Men+Care International Series. That was in September, 2012.

The Maltese are expected to be strengthened in the coming years approaching the 2017 Rugby League World Cup following the emergence of a number of players into the sport’s highest stage, Australia’s NRL and England’s Super League.

In Super League, Malta-born international Jonathan Magrin has been put on standby by coach Tony Rea to debut in the London Broncos’s first team.

In Australia, Jake Mamo and Andrew Heffernan, both eligible to represent Malta, have debuted with Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders respectively in recent weeks.

Malta half-back Jarrod Sammut is also a regular star in the English Super League and Danny Galea is starting with Widnes Vikings after moving from Australian club Canterbury Bulldogs during the off-season.

The Malta Rugby League (MRL) will welcome two touring UK teams in order to help prepare Malta coach Anthony Micallef’s locally-based national team players in their build-up for selection to the summer international matches.

In May, the West Yorkshire Police team will visit the islands before a BARLA representative team tour in June.

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