Ingebrigtsen (7, 49), Nils Haigh (12), Schmidt (20), Mellor (51), Lars Haigh (57)
Schoengen (1), Ayachi (26), Szehoffner(44), Hoggins (68), Nick Keinhorst (76)
Meldalen 3/4, Elgheim 1/1
Kristian Keinhorst 4/5
EUROPEAN SHIELD GAME 1
Two-try stand off and man of the match Tye Ingebrigtsen was the star as Norway produced a shock 32-28 win in the opening clash of the European Shield, refereed by Sarah Bennison. In a terrific result for the Scandinavian side, the ability of the Norwegians to tackle tenaciously against bigger opponents and force them into errors, was the basis of their success.
Norwegian coach Craig West commented, “I thought it was a very even game but we played really well against a physical side, which is great for the development of this team. Considering it is only our second year of competition, the result is a massive boost. Although both sides were forced into handling errors, the German’s made theirs in their own half which gave us great field position which we used to the full.”
The visitors had the ideal start, Norway knocking on from the kick off and at the end of the opening set, winger Max Schoengen crossed, Kristian Keinhorst goaling. Home prop Issac Schmidt was a handful throughout and it was his tackle that dislodged the ball in the German 20 and from the scrum, Ingebrigsten stepped three men to score, Erlend Meldalen converting to level.
Right winger Nils Haigh punished another lost ball by the Germans when he went across in the corner three minutes later and Ingebrigsten’s fine inside pass then sent the deserving Schmidt crashing over to make it 16-6 after 20 minutes. German prop Ben Behr-Hayder reduced the deficit soon after and, on the half hour, the visitors thought they had levelled with a diving try in the corner following great hands but the last pass was ruled forward.
Kristian Keinhorst’s try and conversion four minutes in to the second half edged the Germans ahead but Ingebrigsten’s second and a Sonny Mellor touchdown two minutes later gave Norway a measure of control. Lars Haigh looked to have secured a home win with a 57th minute try but Germany rallied and hooker Andy Hoggins and centre Nick Keinhorst crossed to set up a tense and nervy final four minutes.
Rugby League Norge CEO Warren Heilig commented, “this was an outstanding performance by our boys. They weren’t great in training this week but they came out and shocked the Germans with their tenacity. We have surprised a few people with this effort, and now we are looking to improve even further and take the sport forward in Norway’.
Kristian Elgheim; Nils Haigh, Fredrik Skouly, Sonny Mellor, Robin Svendson; Tye Ingebrigtsen; Pete Engeland, Issac Schmidt, Erlend Meldalen, Kristoffer Milligan, Josh Skidmore, Lars Haigh, Cam Leslie. Subs: Hans Meyer, Nick Palmer, Jorgen Schmidt, Joakim Jaxland.
Paul Szehoffner; Kirill Goncharon, Nick Keinhorst, Yassin Ayachi, Max Schoengen; Kristian Keinhorst; Anselm Wagner; Thomas Issac, Andy Hoggins, Ben Behr-Hayden; Max Froeschner. Fabrice Fehlemann; Dan Stocks. Subs: Artur Schein, Mawuli Amefia, Liam Doughton.