The Malta rugby national team will open their commitments in the FIRA-AER Conference South 1 on Saturday afternoon when they take on Slovenia in Ljubljana (kick-off: 2pm).
The national team will be making their first competitive appearance in international rugby after almost two years following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced all competitions organised by the European governing body to be scrapped.
Malta technical director Damian Neill will again lead the team’s charge in this season’s European qualifiers as they seek to make a winning start against the Slovenians.
The Maltese team had already met the Slovenians just before the COVID-19 interruption when in November 2019 Neill’s men crushed the Slovenians 42-14 in Ljubljana.
A notable selection in Neill’s squad is that of Taylor Rees-Zammit, who is on the books of Welsh side Llandaff.
Rees-Zammit is the elder brother of Wales’ rising star Louis Rees-Zammit who earned the plaudits for his sparkling performances for his country in last year’s Six Nations and was also part of the British & Irish Lions that faced world champions South Africa.
The team also includes a number of familiar faces such as Rhodri Apsee, Mark Davey and brother Thomas and Robert Holloway.
In the build-up to their opening qualifiers the national team spent a week training camp in Malta before their trip to Ljubjana.
Following Saturday’s fixture against Slovenia, the national team will then host their first home international on Saturday, November 13 when they face Israel at the Tony Bezzina Stadium.
1. Rhodri Apsee; 2. Patrick Martin; 3. Terence Galdes; 4. Mark Davey; 5. Darren Deguara; 6. Benjamin Borg;7. Daniel Apsee; 8. Taylor Rees-Zammit; 9. Thomas Holloway; 10. Robert Holloway; 11. Brendan Dalton; 12. Dominic Busuttil; 13. Chris Dudman; 14. Jeremy Debattista; 15. Luke Matthews; 16. Matthew Spiteri; 17. Thomas Davey; 18. Dragan Cerketa; 19. Martin Barbara; 20. Jon Jerome; 21. Matthew Camilleri; 22. Phillips Ioffe; 23. Jethro Zammit Randich.