Djurkovic the hat-trick hero as Serbia trounce Ukraine in opening European Championship game

With both sides keen to make an impact and get their tournaments off on the right track, it was the Serbian side who made their presence known as they powered home to a 40-14 win over the Ukraine in the opening game of the European Championship B.

The match was very nearly cancelled due to torrential rain across the region but the efforts of the Serbian rugby league saw the game played, with the second half accompanied with a mass downfall.

In front of 750 fans who braved the weather, the Serbians shone and set the tone, with debutant winger Milos Djurkovic starring with a hat-trick.

With more games to come, Serbian coach Marko Jankovic wants to see more from his side but lamented their performance in certain areas.

“I’m really satisfied with the result but I don’t rate it as one of our better performances,” he said.

“We made a lot of mistakes, it was clear we were the better side with more skill and organisation, but we tended to lose our poise and start playing too much.”

“The Ukrainians were very consistent, they had a high completion rate and revolved around two or three very good players. We need to play better to make the games a little easier for our players. We had a lot of new players who came through our U20s side, which is a good sign.”

As for Gennady Vepryk, the coach of the Ukrainian side, he admits that the score reflected the game and that Serbia were the superior team.

“The score was a fair reflection of the match, Serbia were the better team. Towards the middle of the first half, after we scored our first try, we thought we were going to get back into it but we just didn’t play well enough for the whole game,” said Vepryk.

“We need to analyse the game and correct our mistakes before we play Russia next week. We’ll make some changes and hope we can bring back some injured players.”

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