Greece captain Meads to honour grandparents

The 30-year-old is set to captain the Titans at their first Rugby League World Cup

12 Oct 2022

Greece captain Meads to honour grandparents

The 30-year-old is set to captain the Titans at their first Rugby League World Cup

By Jack Lacey-Hatton

Few players will be prouder to pull on their nation’s jersey at the Rugby League World Cup than Greece captain and talisman Jordan Meads.

The 30-year-old half-back was born in Wellington but qualifies for the Titans through his maternal grandparents who migrated to New Zealand after fleeing civil war in Greece.

Now the emotionally charged skipper will proudly wear the blue and white colours at Greece’s first ever men’s World Cup.

“My grandparents fled Greece from the war many, many years ago now,” he said. “They put their life on the line to give us a good life.

“So me repaying that on the rugby league field is nothing really. It means a lot.

“I’ll be putting my body on the line, and I know my brothers next to me will be doing the same.”

Meads may have a Kiwi twang to his accent but insists being Greek is ‘in the blood’, whilst also admitting he is “looking forward to a Greece v New Zealand final.”

Having previously played here for Newcastle Thunder, he now has the task of spearheading the Greek charge on English soil in a tough looking pool alongside hosts England, dark horses Samoa and France.

Not that Meads has any concerns about taking on more illustrious opponents.

“We respect all, but fear none,” he insisted. “We’re fortunate to be playing two of the four most fancied teams in the competition in Samoa and England.

“If you ask any player, they will tell you they want to compete against the best teams and we’re no different.

“It is a sink or swim moment for us. We know we might lack some of the experience and professionalism that some of the other teams might have.

“But I can certainly assure everyone that we will make up for that with enthusiasm.”

For Meads and the Greece team, just competing at the tournament is a remarkable achievement, the sport was even illegal in the country until only a few months ago.

The decision from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports to lift the ban means any success from the national team can be capitalised on.

Meads and his teammates haven’t had it easy getting here, having to navigate qualifying with a win over Serbia in Belgrade.

But the rewards are huge. Now they have the chance to take on England in front of feverish host nation support.

Jordan Meads (front centre) with his fellow Rugby League World Cup captains at the Launch. Getty Images.

Meads added: “We’re only a few months down the track of rugby league being made legal in our own country. 

“So we’re really excited to see what this tournament is going to do from a springboard perspective.

“We want to do a lot of people proud and hopefully shock a few people as well.

“Playing at Bramall Lane (against England) in front of a 30,000 plus crowd, I’m sure is going to be the experience of a lifetime.

“It sends shivers up my spine just talking about it, but it is France first for us and we can’t wait.”

The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets

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