Denmark’s rugby league side will need a few superstars of their own if they are going to compete on the world stage. That was the lesson handed to them last weekend by Bradford Bulls player Jarrod Sammut, whose 40-point haul inspired Malta to a 74-12 defeat of the red and whites at the Gentofte Stadium.
The victory completed a double over the Danes, following an earlier 24-12 win in Valetta in June, and saw the Maltese easily clinch the 2012 Dove Men+Care International Series.
Malta coach Anthony Micallef was delighted with his team’s efforts. “They were in fine form,” he said. “We had a very youthful squad out there: that’s the future of the game for us together with the experienced senior playing group.”
Sammut, 25, has a host of English Super League clubs chasing his services for next season, and the talented 169cm-tall general showed why, laying on four tries and missing only two goals.
It was one-way traffic from the kick-off: the Maltese were 18-0 up after as many minutes. Danish hopes were then briefly raised when good work by Rune Thorbjørn Nordvang led to Cameron Woods scoring his side’s first points of the afternoon as the sun came out on an otherwise drizzly weekend in the Danish capital.
Was this a sign from the gods that Denmark could come back? No. The Maltese were well-drilled throughout and piled on the points in the second half, although the biggest cheer was reserved for Denmark’s second try, when Viiga Lima, who teaches the sport at the local Skovbro Efterskole, stepped inside his man to thrill his watching students.
Before the game, children from the NGG International School had played a game of tag rugby before joining an enthusiastic home crowd in the stands.
The sport was introduced to the school less than two years ago by one of its teachers, Joshua Whitehead, who is amazed by how popular it has become as an after-school activity. “When rugby league was first introduced in PE lessons, only a handful of students had ever seen a rugby ball before,” he said.
“Eighteen months on and a hardcore of boys and girls from Grades 3 to 7 are hooked on ‘the greatest game’.”
Whitehead is now hopeful of introducing full contact rugby league to the kids. “The Viking blood means that the players are now desperate to try it – it’s the next logical step in the school’s rugby journey,” he said. “With other schools in Zealand and in other areas of Denmark [also playing the sport], the future is exciting.”