Sunday 12 March 2017

SPAIN UP – BELGIUM DOWN

The fourth round of Rugby Europe Championship was the last opportunity for some teams to secure their place in the division before a last match-day next week-end that will be decisive to unveil the play-off programme.

 

The fourth round of Rugby Europe Championship was the last opportunity for some teams to secure their place in the division before a last match-day next week-end that will be decisive to unveil the play-off programme.

Before the kick-off of this round, Belgium remained at the bottom of the group despite some good performances against Russia and Germany, that offered two bonus points to the Black Devils, synonym of hope in the battle for the fifth place.

Hosting Romania in the “Little Heysel” for their third home-games, Belgian players missed the first 20 minutes of their game, as they usually did. Romania took benefit from these mistakes and scored two tries converted by Mister Florin Vlaicu, honoured by a standing ovation for his 100th cap with the national jersey (14-0).

The Devils tried to initiate some good actions switching direct attacks and large ones but failed the penalty kicks that could reward their efforts.

After the break, Belgian players came back with a lot of energy and bravery and found the space to score their first try but Romania replied by a new try five minutes later. Devils highly motivated, kept the pace and scored again, maintaining 7, then 4 points back to the Oaks. Unfortunately, The Romanians geared up and ended the hopes of Belgium, scoring two additional tries in 5 minutes, grabbing also the bonus point for a final 33-17 score.

This new defeat imposes Belgium to an incredible performance in Spain next week-end to avoid play-off challenge.

And it won’t be easy as Spain achieved the performance of the day, defeating the German team in Koeln 32-15, while everybody considered Germany as the rising nation of rugby. Spanish did not wait for a long time to take the score thanks to 4 tries and 1 penalty, reaching the half-time 29-3.  Germany came back with the ambition to reverse the situation. But they couldn’t do better than a 12-3 in a second period, but they robbed Spain from the important bonus point. Thanks to this win, Leones move ahead Germany in the standings.

The third match of this round was the traditional clash between Georgia and Russia. Played in a fully packed Tbilisi stadium (55 000 fans), this game was as much important for the result of the game as for the triumph in the competition. Lelos took a good start scoring twice in the first half (by G.Koshadze And V. Lobzhanidze) while the opponent cannot but resist to the assaults of the Georgians (14-0 half-time). The beginning of the second half went in the same way with a new try scored by Lobzhanidze, but Russia replied immediately, depriving Lelos from the bonus point. They did it twice and despite a lot of energy spent to obtain this bonus point, Lelos finally failed and took only 4 points – 28-14.

This scenario will offer a decisive Round 5 with a Top-attractive Romania / Georgia to be played in Bucharest for the title of “Champions 2017” ; while in the same time Russia and Belgium will fight for the 6th position against Germany and Spain.

Rankings and Fixtures on http://www.rugbyeurope.eu/competitions/rugby-europe-international-championships

 

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