Super-sub Max Skofic powered Slovenia to a historic 43-17 victory with three tries in their crunch clash against Bulgaria in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
All five Skofic brothers – Max, Archie, Frankie, George and Jack – play together at Tarleton RFU and they made their international debuts in the European Nations Cup victory that saved Slovenia from relegation.
And in the process the siblings from Hesketh Bank created a world record for the number of brothers playing together in an international match.
Max’s brothers Archie, George and 18-year-old Frankie started the match.
And eldest brother Jack fought through the pain barrier of a hamstring injury to come off the bench in the latter stages and fulfil their late father Jonathan’s dream of all five brothers playing international rugby together.
Max came on in the 25th minute and helped overturn a 7-5 deficit with a man-of-the-match performance.
He said: “I always knew I would be starting on the bench as part of the coach’s game plan.
“The Bulgarians are a big side and the coach wanted to tire them out and bring on some fresh legs, and I’m not the biggest of guys, so the tactic worked.
“At one stage we were 19-17 up and we were under our own posts but we kept going and got the result. To score three tries was absolutely incredible – it is a dream come true.”
Three minutes after Max came on, George scored a try, and after Max’s hat-trick of tries youngest brother Frankie landed two conversions.
Max said: “It was my dad’s dream for us all to play together.”
The Skofic brothers’ grandfather Alois was born in Slovenia before moving to England and the brothers were treated like pop stars by the Slovenian people.
Max said: “It was crazy, their hospitality was amazing. We were followed around by a camera crew and people would invite us round for food.”
Jack injured his hamstring the day before the match and sacrificed himself to ensure a Slovenian victory.
He said: “Max was monumental – he had a look in his eye before the match and I knew he meant business.
“I was meant to start but I didn’t want to if I wasn’t fully fit and risk losing the match. It isn’t over here – we are hungry for more caps.”