Greece pull out of qualifier in Malta

The Malta Rugby League (MRL) said the World Cup qualifier between Malta and Greece at the Melita ground this weekend has been postponed.

“The European Championship C clash was scheduled since last winter to go ahead on Saturday. However, the Greek Rugby League has given notice to the European governing body, the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF), that it will be unable to fulfil the fixture,” the MRL said.

The RLEF issued a statement saying the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League had informed them its national team would not travel to Malta this week for the European Championship C match, citing economic difficulties in the country and the withdrawal of two sponsors.

The RLEF Board has ordered an inquiry and awarded the match 30-0 to Malta.

The cancellation of Saturday’s fixture leaves Spain favourites to progress to the next round after they upset Malta 40-30 in Valencia last month.

A draw against Greece in Athens on October 17 would be enough for Spain to top the group and face the likes of Serbia, Italy and Russia ahead of the World Cup in 2017.

Malta have played four internationals this season, three of which abroad, including a dramatic 35-34 win over Belgium at Headingley Stadium in June.

Last month, the Maltese almost upset Ireland until the seventh in the world nation ran down the locals 34-22.

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