Vale’s Cvijanovic makes Serbia debut

Tom Cvijanovic.
Tom Cvijanovic.

Tom Cvijanovic became a member of the exclusive club of Vale of Lune players who have gained international recognition when he played for Serbia against Bosnia Herzegovina in Zenica on April 22 in a European Championship fixture, which Bosnia Herzegovina won, 21-10.

Tom’s surprise selection for Serbia came through his family connections. His grandfather came to the United Kingdom when he was 17 and about 18 months ago he and Tom began to explore the possibilities of being eligible to represent Serbia.

Contact was made with the Serbian Rugby Union which resulted in Tom receiving his call up for international duty.

While Tom’s colleagues were playing at Northwich he was pulling on his international jersey after an eight-hour coach journey and preparing to face Bosnia Herzegovina in a squad that included players from Scotland, France, Italy and Austria.

Rugby in Serbia is in many respects a minority sport but programmes have been put in place by the Serbian Rugby Union to develop the game further at all levels.

Tom is due to return to Serbia in October to take part in training sessions ahead of another programme of European Championship qualifying games.

Tom, who was born in Macclesfield, moved to Ulverston and later attended Dallam School where he began to play rugby but when he reached 16 he stopped playing before picking up the threads again when he joined the Vale three seasons ago.

He gradually worked his way through the senior sides, either as a back row forward or in the second row, before making his full debut at Warrington in September 2015 after coming on the previous week against Kirkby Lonsdale at home.

Tom has made 27 starts, coming off the bench on seven occasions and he has scored four tries.