‘ZAV’ ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY
As Hoppers players prepared for the recent home game against Bromsgrove, Alex Zavallis-Roebuck was winging his way to Gunclje, which as every reader probably knows is a town in central Slovenia. The reason? An exotic holiday? Yet another ‘stag do’ somewhere different? Neither in fact; ‘Zav’ was on his way to play for Cyprus against the afore-mentioned Slovenia in the European Nations Cup, Division 2C. Zav qualifies through his mother.
The game was introduced to the island by British Military and UN personnel in the 1950s and there are now three local sides: Paphos Tigers, Limasol Crusaders and Nicosia Barbarians.
The Cyprus National Rugby Union Team is known as “The Moufflons” a kind of horned sheep which is also the Republic’s national animal, the Cypriot moufflon (Ovis orientalis ophion for the zoologists among you!). Zav is in good company as they beat Slovenia 34-3 and currently are ranked No.1 in the division. They have also won 24 of their 25 games and hold the world record for the most consecutive international rugby union wins now standing at 20. They were controversially disqualified from the knockout phase of the 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers, as they did not meet the necessary membership criteria according to the IRB, which on the face of it appears somewhat unjust!
Up-coming fixtures are:
30th November 2013 v Austria (Home)
26th April 2014 v Bulgaria (Away)
17th May 2014 v Hungary (Home)