INTERNATIONAL rugby league newcomers Turkey have taken out the first-ever Balkan Nines in Belgrade.
The Turkish, who only took up the sport two years ago, survived a heart-stopping finale in which hosts Serbia missed a goal kick on the bell in regulation time that would have handed them victory.
Turkey then won the final with a try 14-10 three minutes into golden point extra time.
Third place in the new tournament went to Bulgaria, who defeated Albania 8-4. In other results, Turkey downed Bosnia Herzigovenia 16-0 and Albania 28-4 and Serbia knocked out Bulgaria 28-4.
The tournament was organised to complement the Under 19s European Championships at the same venue. An EU selection also played matches under the Nines format against Bosnia Herzegovina and Bulgaria, winning both.
“We took the opportunity whilst hosting the U19 Euros to invite regional teams to kick-start a tournament which should be an annual gathering,” said Serbia general secretary Slobodan Manak.
.“Next time we are hoping to have all the Balkan nations competing in what should be a very quality championship.”
Photo: Turkey Rugby League Facebook