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On-going commitment by Cisk Lager to the Malta National Rugby Team 14/04/2004

The Malta national rugby team, sponsored by Cisk Lager and Barclays Bank, is undergoing intensive training in the build-up to their opening match in Division 3A of the European Nations Cup versus Serbia & Montenegro.  As is customary all players have assembled for training for the entire week including the players who live and play overseas.  Kick-off is at 1200hrs on Saturday April 17th 2004 at the Marsa Sports Complex. 

This was announced Wednesday at a press conference held at T.G.I. Friday’s in Sliema. “Malta, who are on a 7-match unbeaten run in this competition face a much sterner test this year after gaining two consecutive European promotions now being placed 27th out of 41 competing countries. Malta has selected a 25-man squad from which the final 22 will be announced on Thursday. This squad includes 11 born and living in Malta; 7 English Maltese; 2 Welsh Maltese; 3 Australian Maltese and 2 English who qualify on 3 years residency in Malta,” said the Malta National Coach & Director of Rugby, Graham Richards.

The Malta squad put forward by Mr. Richards is as follows:

 1.

 Christoffel Diamantino 

 M (Captain)

 2.

 Adam Magro

 A/M

 3.

 Darren Mascena 

 M

 4.

 Daniel Grima 

 M

 5.

 David Borg 

 M

 6.

 David Gasan 

 M

 7.

 Harry Collins 

 Residency

 8.

 Ian Borda 

 M

 9.

 Jamie Caruana 

 E/M

 10.

 John Dimond 

 W/M

 11.

 Luke Macfayden

 A/M

 12.

 Malcolm Attard

 M

 13.

 Mark Cuschieri

 E/M

 14.

 Mario Fountain

 M

 15.

 Nick Warren 

 W/M

 16.

 Oliver Sacco 

 E/M

 17.

 Pierre Azzopardi

 M

 18.

 Piers Allen

 Residency

 19.

 Rohan Spiteri 

 A/M

 20.

 Steve Busuttil 

 M

 21.

 Steve Haycock 

 E/M

 22.

 Steve Kempster 

 E/M

 23.

 Chris Vassallo 

 M

 24.

 Steve Worthington

 E/M

 25.

 Tom Webb 

 E/M

Mr Richards said that Rohan Spiteri, an Australian rugby player from Canberra flew in last week courtesy of British Airways and will stay in Malta until after the last international game on May 29th. This is the first time that a Maltese/Australian has traveled from Australia to play. Rohan is joined by Adam Magro another Maltese/Australian and is the first player to play for Malta who has been a full time professional. Adam, having played in Australia, Japan, Ireland and now England is studying in Oxford University and was man of the match in last year’s Oxford/Cambridge match at Twickenham. Another new face is Jamie Caruana who having recently joined the Royal Navy is their current No.10.

Malta, who are very much the underdogs and minnows of this Division, are expecting Serbia and Montenegro to be the stiffest opposition that they have faced to date. Malta also plays away to Latvia on April 24th followed by Hungary home on May 22nd and Moldova away on May 29th.

“We are preparing for another two encounters in the European Championships. We will go into these games with our big hearts and strong determination to win,” said the National Team Manager, Alan Churchill. “I also would like to thank Cisk Lager and Barclays Bank for their support as without them we wouldn't be here today.”

Malta National Team Captain, Christoffel Diamantino, said: “We appreciate the support of the sporting public and the media. With every game we have seen an increase of support but the more we advance, the harder it’s going to be for us. Notwithstanding all the efforts, sacrifices and training that we are undergoing, we need all the support we can get. We believe that we deserve it as we are one of the only few victorious national teams in Malta.” 

Cisk Brand Executive at Farsons, Ivan Filletti, said: “Cisk Lager has backed the Malta Rugby Football Union all along.  We feel part of their success and it is twice as enjoyable to celebrate our national rugby team’s wins with our national beer.  Cisk is playing an important role in contributing not only towards the growth of rugby on the island but also in helping it to develop into a sport that can produce excellent results for Malta.”