The South African Rugby League (SARL) national team, The Rhinos, looked to increase their world ranking when they took on Italy.
The match was played in Australia in October and five members of the Germiston-based Bears Rugby League Club were selected to join the team.
Andries van der Merwe, Marcelle Viljoen, Robin Howell, Zach van Loggenberg (who have all played in the squad before) and Dieter de la Port were scouted for the team during their club matches.
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The Italian Azzurri’s and The Rhinos battled it out on the wet rugby field, at Marconi Stadium, as part of the Alliance Cup, with the Italian side walking away the victors with a final score of 18-8.
“It was another learning curve for us as a national team and much can be said about the improvements we have made as a team,” said van der Merwe.
Though The Rhinos did not win the match, they were able to improve their world ranking, which was their main objective.
From 32nd in the world the team is now ranked 30th.
The team will next face Fiji, early next year, as preparations for the World Cup qualifier matches.
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