Norway’s debut in junior and youth international rugby league saw them complete a double at U16 and U19 level over hosts Czechia, in rainy conditions at RLC Slavia Hradec Králové. Their U16s won an hour long 9-a-side contest 38-20, with the older age group coming out 32-16 victors.

Tim Jones coached both the Norway sides and commented: “It was fantastic having two U16s sides giving their all. The experience the boys have gained from this game has been huge and whilst we are pleased to have taken the win, the real winner today was spreading the sport.

“The U19s game was really enjoyable although there were a few errors. The Czechs played some great rugby league, but we beat them with heart and desire and gave the game a real go. I asked all the players to leave everything they had on the field and they did that, knowing they had done their best.”

In the first game, Czechia dominated in the early stages but the Norwegians grew in confidence as the game progressed. Theodor Eidsaune Chongdee and Joshua Silverstone-Utheim – who also kicked five goals – were the standouts for the visitors and both recorded a hat-trick, as both nations added an important rung to their youth development ladder.

Norway U19s were out of the blocks first with Arian Harbas crossing after just three minutes and Sander Milligan racing in five minutes later. They were pinned back by Václav Grohman’s try, before Tarjei Håberg crossed in a display which saw him also kick three conversions. Patrik Kmínek added a further score for Czechia to keep them in touch at the break.

Norway took control in the second half with Dag Hansen, Håberg and Milligan all scoring within a ten-minute period leading up to the hour mark to seal the win, Matěj Schejbal adding a late consolation for the hosts.

Tomáš Valenta, Czechia U16s head coach, noted: “We went into the match with great expectations, but certainly not without humility. We had a very good feeling after the first part, and maybe the result seemed clear to some players. However, hasty handling of the ball took the victory away from us.

“But we are not hanging our heads – we are learning from our mistakes and are already planning continued national team training and other matches as soon as possible. The boys want to play and have an appetite for rugby league like no other. We look forward to a possible rematch and further experience.”

Samuel Heřman, Adam Holenda, Radim Učík, Marek Pižl, Jakub Doležálek, Michal Špidlen, Ondřej Mach, Roman Turek, Jáchym Gazárek.

Interchanges: Adam Fišera, Roland Haase, Max Jüptner, Filip Víšek, Filip Martiník, Jan Maksim.

Tries: Pižl (6, 52), Špidlen (9), Turek (19)
Goals: Pižl 2/4

NORWAY U16s 38
Richard Buch, Vetle Kørre-Østby, Henrik Husebø, Thabo Leuta, Filip Naparty, Joshua Silverstone-Utheim, Bror Buch, Vetle Bentz-Pedersen, Theodor Eidsaune Chongdee.

Interchanges: Elias Kørkleiv Gradert, Ola Håberg, Valentine Mjølhus, Emilis Trapkauskas.

Tries: Eidsaune Chongdee (5, 40, 50), Silverstone-Utheim (23, 47, 55), Buch (28)
Goals: Silverstone-Utheim 5/7

Referee: Lukas Hergott (Czechia)

Matěj Schejbal, Dominik Doleček, Antonín Hron, Josef Slanina, Václav Vágner, Tobiáš Heřman, Tobiáš Heřman, Jakub Klimt, Patrik Kmínek, Jakub Kmoníček, Václav Grohman, Jan Koldus, Marek Tejchman.

Interchanges: Jakub Zeman, Vojtěch Svoboda, Jan Kmecko, Vilém Hron

Tries: Grohman (21), Kmínek (36), Schejbal (75)

Goals: Heřman 2/3

NORWAY U19s 32

Tarjei Håberg, Silas Mjølhus, Øivind Mikal Berghom, Kristoffer Gradert, Ola Kvinlaug-Martinsen, Arian Harbas, Sander Milligan, Tobias Hoel, Emil Grindheim, Åsmund Eikeland, Dag Hansen, Trygve Hansen, Noah Reme.

Interchanges: Oliver Eidsaune, Christopher Butterfield, Magnus Laxå, Hakon Sivertsen.

Tries: Harbas (3), Milligan (8, 59), Håberg (19, 52), Hansen (49).
Goals: Håberg 3/6

Referee: Lukas Hergott (Czechia)

Half Time: 12-16

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