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Premiership Rugby

Rugby stars lend Croatia a helping hand

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Croatia arrive in England this week on a tour arranged by Darko Luger – Dan's father and a leading Croatian rugby official – to help his homeland develop their players.

They play at Southend on Saturday, April 19, then take on a Wasps development side at their Marlow base on April 22 before facing Marlow on April 25.

Coventry player-coach Brooke will be leading a training session for the visitors next Sunday before NEC Harlequins players Luger and Greenwood pass on some of their Grand Slam winning skills on the following Wednesday.

"The Croatian team are here on tour to prepare for their next international game against Denmark. They're being hosted by Marlow and staying in that area," said Darko Luger.

"Rugby in Croatia arrived in the 1960s and has been developed gradually since then. They've had some success – especially in Sevens when they went close to knocking New Zealand out in Hong Kong a couple of years ago.

"There are lots of Kiwis, Aussies and South Africans of Croatian origin who play the game, but the game there is still in its infancy. They need more structure and more support."

Croatia currently play in Division Three of the European Cup of Nations and have beaten Slovenia and Belgium this season before losing to Switzerland and have to beat Denmark to stand an outside chance of winning promotion.

The link with South West One side Marlow was forged by Croatian international flanker Jacksa Lovreta and scrum-half Mike Lunjevich who joined the Buckinghamshire club two seasons ago.

Marlow – who also have Czech Republic flanker Ladia Vondrasek on their books – toured Croatia last summer to play the Maraska club.

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