On September 26th 1953, 65 years ago, the first rugby league match was played in Serbia, but also the first newspaper article about rugby league was published in the publication Politik, which was at that time, the oldest and most popular daily newspaper in Serbia and Former Yugoslavia.
The Belgrade press had a great interest in this event. The match was played on September 26th 1953, kick-off at 4 pm at the JNA stadijum, today FC Partizan Belgrade's stadium, between the French national youth team and the University team from Marseilles in front of around 8000 spectators. The youth French national team won 44:41 (23:13).
After 65 years, the French team will return to Serbia. On Sunday, October 7th 2018, the national teams of Serbia and France will play a test match, which will be their last test before the important European Champions games to be played in the autumn.
Th match between France and Serbia will be part of the centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War and liberation of Serbia and in honor of French Marshal Louis Franchet d'Espèrey who liberated Serbia together with the Serbian Army and winning team will be presented with a trophy called the Marshal Franchet d'Espèrey Cup.
Before the match with the Tricolors, Serbia will organize two test matches with Wales Dragonhearts (Wales B) to be played onOctober 3rd and 6th 2018. The coaching staff lead by Australian coach Brett Davidson will use these two matches, as well as match with France to prepare for the European Championship B matches with Russia and Spain. Serbia are defending the trophy that they won in 2015. They are also fighting to progress to the next stage of World Cup qualification.