Belgrade 11.08.2018. Venue: NC Makiš. Kick off 10.30 H, Attendance 500, Referee: Andrew Pilkington (Spain) Touch Judges: Toni Palasios (Spani), Oleksandar Ivchenko (Ukraina).
SERBIA vs IRELAND 36:24 (12:10)
SERBIA: Jakovljević, Mihajlović, Bijorac, Arnold, V. Tomić, Krstić, Marjanović, Janković Smit, Stoiljković, Milutinović, Marolt, Dragišić. Sub: M. Tomić, Ivanković, Simović, Stanković.
IRELAND: Kuran, E. Smit, K. Smit, Varga, Felous, Godar, Doneli, Toger, Kalen, Mulvenij, O’Nil, Kromi, J. O’Saliven. Sub: Batishil, Majkl, Gardiner, S. O’Saliven.
Serbia were indebted to skipper Vladimir Milutinovic, the second rower superb throughout and finishing with 20 points from two tries and a perfect six goals.
Centre Zane Bijorac also claimed a brace of touchdowns, hooker Jai Smith and, in the closing minute, Matija Mihajlovic with Serbia’s other touchdowns. Ireland led 10-6 and 24-22, full back Ryan Curran their star with two tries – including a stunning length of the field effort – and four goals, winger Andrew Smyth also claiming a try double.
“We prepared well for this, the boys needed to win for a bit of self-belief,” said Serbia head coach Neil Bijorac. “I was happy with our start but a few errors crept in. To our credit, we corrected them and scored some good tries at the end.”
Ireland general manager Conor Kelly noted: “We’re very disappointed and there’s a sombre mood in the camp. The lads gave it everything and the score line is a bit flattering as I think we were the better team for a lot of the game. We can still take positives, this was the first time this group of lads had played together so to see them constantly bounce back is superb.”