GERMANY, SURPRISE OF MATCH-DAY 1
The Rugby Europe Championship 2017 started last Saturday for the six teams involved in the competition, (Georgia, Romania, Russia, Spain, Germany, Belgium). Each of one aiming to grab the last direct ticket for Rugby World Cup 2019. Georgia is already qualified thanks to its result at the last RWC 2015.
For the first match-day, 3 oppositions to be played:
GERMANY / ROMANIA (41-38)
After a scrappy opening in which Germany held a 6-3 lead, Romania stepped up a gear and appeared to have killed the game off when they scored three tries between the 20th and 29th minute through Andre Ursache, Jack Umaga and Ionut Dumitru, with the immaculate Florin Vlaicu converting on each occasion. This despite losing fly-half Jody Rose to the sin-bin.
But a penalty try and a lung-bursting intercept effort from halfway from tireless flanker Jacob Otto meant there was only four points in at the break, at 20-16 to the visitors.
The Oaks turned on the power again at the start of the second half and Ursache and Dumitru both grabbed their second tries to silence the 3,000-strong crowd. Vlaicu was again on target with both conversions to take his tally to 13 points following an earlier penalty.
But Germany’s strong mauling game got them on the front foot and Parkinson and replacement hooker Dasch Barber crossed before Coetzee claimed a piece of history with his first international try.
BELGIUM / GEORGIA (6-31)
The promoted team (winner of ENC1B 2016) had the advantage to host its first game in Brussels, but had also the huge challenge to face the title-holder, Georgia in a unbalanced game on the paper.
Already qualified for the World Cup 2019, Georgia staff decided to use the Championship to include new young players in the squad.
In a fully crowded « Petit Heysel » stadium, the « Black Devils » respected the « Lelos » too much in the first half to be in capacity to challenge the champions.
Merab Kvirikashvili kicked a penalty and converted tries from flanker Giorgi Tkhilaishvili and centre Giorgi Koshadze on his 99th appearance, to give Georgia a 17-0 half-time lead.
Black devils scored two penalties from Alan Williams and showed some good inspirations in second half. Unfortunately, they did not resist to the Georgian experience, which scored two tries and grabbed the bonus point.
SPAIN / RUSSIA (16-6)
While Spain’ s victory over Russia was not on the same scale of Germany’s earlier in the day, to beat a side ranked three places higher than them was still a fine way for their REC campaign to start.
On another heavy pitch in Madrid, Brad Linklater kicked three penalties and converted Mathieu Belie’s seventh-minute try to hand Los Leones a 16-6 victory. Russia’s points came from the boot of fly-half Yury Kushnarev.
Replay on www.rugbyeurope.tv