Local Sport > Rugby > MALTA READYING TO FACE IRELAND IN SUMMER INTERNATIONAL

MALTA READYING TO FACE IRELAND IN SUMMER INTERNATIONAL

Malta’s international against Ireland at Pembroke will kick off at 9.00pm, the Malta Rugby League (MRL) has announced.

The Irish will play their second match in seven days after they took on Serbia this afternoon (Sat 29 August) in Belgrade, with organisers pushing the kick-off back to late evening to lessen the toll on the players during the match following the heat wave of the last month.

The Irish Wolfhounds are ranked seventh in the world, with a European ranking of number three, and are set to be Malta’s strongest test on home soil.

Last month saw Ireland crush Belgium 38-0, only three weeks after Malta pulled off a memorable 35-34 win over the Belgians in Leeds, a result that is expected to bring supporters out to rally for the home side at Melita FC next Saturday.

CAPTAIN ASSUMES COACHING RESPONSIBILITIES

Malta captain Chris Parker, returning from injury, will assume caretaker coach responsibilities and has a number of familiar faces from the domestic scene to choose from.

Parker commented, “We're looking forward to the challenge the Irish team will bring to Malta”.

“The Irish are probably the highest profile side we have hosted on the island and we're hoping the Maltese rugby family comes out in force to support us. And we are going to have to be on top of our game to get the result”.

“We have a strong contingent of the squad that played against Belgium in June but we are also looking forward to and building up to the Euro C games against Spain and Greece”.

Speaking of his elevation to coach the national team, Parker added, “It's an absolute honour to have been given the opportunity to coach my country for the next three games. I've had a taste of it when I took the reins against Belgium and I really enjoyed it”.

“Hopefully I can bring a few new ideas to the table and continue to develop the domestic talent we have”.

IRELAND LAST TEST BEFORE WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

32-year-old veteran halfback Malcolm Attard, who captained the side in his last start against Belgium, said the Malta team is eagerly awaiting the clash against the Wolfhounds for the first time”.

“It’s this type of quality opposition that will test us and better prepare the younger players for our upcoming World Cup Qualifiers” said Attard.

The clash against Ireland will be Malta’s final warm-up before their World Cup qualifying campaign kicks off in late September away to Spain, where the Maltese are expecting to come up against similar weather conditions and a cagy Spanish lineup.
 
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