France win rugby league anniversary clash in Serbia
Albi winger Nittim Pedrero led the way, scoring a hat trick of tries on his debut, as France comprehensively beat Serbia 78-10 at Stadion FK Obilic, Beograd, Belgrade in a men’s senior international.
The match commemorated the 70th anniversary of rugby league being played in the Balkan nation, and the visitors celebrated by running in 14 tries in total, Carcassonne scrum half Clement Herrero finishing with 30 points from two tries and eleven goals.
France assistant coach Maxime Greseque, who was in charge of the side, commented: “It was a very good performance, it’s good for us as we prepare for the 2026 World Cup with younger players and this game will help our world ranking points.
"We are aiming to play a further international later this year and to keep improving.”
France made a quick start with two tries in the opening five minutes but Serbia hit back with in-form centre Aleksandar Pavlovic crossing, however, from then on it was one-way traffic the visitors leading 34-6 at the break.
Serbia head coach, Darren Fisher, noted: “Our objective was to compete and we fell a bit short of that but it shows the difference between players playing professionally and on an amateur basis.
"The speed of the game is a massive part of that, and we can learn from it. We’ll look at the stats and give the players individual objectives ahead of our next game.”
Radoslav Novakovic, director of SRL, said: “It was a big anniversary and we were happy to be playing the French team in celebration.
"In reality, we did not expect to win, but we have shown improvement – scoring two tries against the French which we have not done before.
"We will play against Netherlands for the first time in 17 years on 14 October in Zwolle and will be looking for the win to maintain our top 10 ranking.”
Dragan Jankovic, Rajko Trifunovic, Denis Cengaj, Aleksandar Pavlovic, Marko Cuk, Dzavid Jasari, Vojislav Dedic, Vlado Kusic, Vladislav Dedic, Enis Bibic, Miodrag Tomic, Stefan Arsic, Nikola Djuric. Interchanges: Vuk Strbac, Mihajlo Jovic, Strahinja Stojiljkovic, Marko Jankovic.
Tries: Pavlovic (14), Jasari (58)
Goals: Jasari 1/2
Enzo Griffier, Nittim Pedrero, Matthieu Laguerre, Louis Carre, Corentin Rey, Cesar Rouge, Clement Herrero, Bastien Scimone, Ugo Tison, Florian Vailhen, Corentin Le Cam, Lucas Vergniol, Clement Boyer. Interchanges: Justin Bouscayrol, Franck Maria, Leo Laurent, Mathias Marty.
Tries: Verginiol (3, 23), Pedrero (5, 71, 75), Griffier (20), Herrero (33, 48), Laguerre (38, 62), Rouge (44), Rey (53), Laurent (65), Vailhen (78)
Goals: Herrero 11/14
Referee: Andrew Pilkington (Spain)
Half Time: 6-34