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The Dutch rugby league has announced a squad of predominantly locally based players for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Georgia on Friday, 26 May.
Twelve of the seventeen traveling to Tbilisi play their football locally, with three players ? back rowers Vincent Grimbergen and Bernard van Holstein, and Alex Hoogenzand - set to win their first international caps. Grimbergen will be joined by a fellow 18-year old, Benjamin Blom, who gets the nod at halfback following an impressive debut off the bench in the Netherlands' opening 40-14 defeat to Russia earlier this month.
Blom's promotion comes in the wake of a series of disruptive injuries, notably to half Jorik Moree (cracked ribs), with skipper Aaron de Jagger moving wider to stand-off. Nottingham Outlaws three-quarter Kees Foxon shifts to the problem position of fullback to replace Joel Barrett (broken shoulder), himself a stop-gap replacement for first choice custodian Rudy Stanford Smyth, who has failed to recover from an injury sustained in training two weeks ago.
Georgia sits on top of the four-nation pre-qualifying group, which sees the top two progressing to the second round in October. With the match taking place on a public holiday and covered by national television, a five figure crowd is expected.
Netherlands team versus Georgia.
1.Kees Foxon Nottingham Outlaws
2.Jamie Groeneweg Hoek van Holland
3.Ronald van den Broek Haagsche
4.Duncan Taylor Worthing
5.Roelof Haar Leeuwarden
6.Aaron de Jagger Huddersfield Underbank Rangers (Captain)
7.Benjamin Blom Sassenheim
8.Phil Parkinson Nottingham Outlaws.
9.Chris Hodgetts Hemel Stags
10.Bevan Williamson Rotterdam
11.Raymond den Engelsman Hoek van Holland
12.Bernie van Holstein Hoek van Holland
13.Jason Bruygoms Rotterdam
14.Alex Hoogenzand Sasseneheim
15.Johnny Qua Rotterdam
16.Vincent Grimbergen Sassenehim
17.Sjoerd Nieboer WRC Haaglanden