Slovenia backed up their win in Hungary last week with a home victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina on Saturday while Latvia got their own men’s Rugby Europe Conference campaign underway with a bonus point win in Finland.
In Pool B, Slovenia were taking on Bosnia & Herzegovina in Pool B in the Oval Stadium in Ljubljana.
In a forward-orientated and hard fought battle, Slovenia eventually came out on top 22-17.
Slovenia now have eight points from two matches and are top of the Pool while Bosnia & Herzegovina are fourth after two losses, but will have taken heart from their battling performance in Ljubljana.
Finland had beaten Denmark 14-10 on October 7, so went into their Pool A match with Latvia at the Myllypuro Sports Park in Helsinki feeling good.
However, it was the visitors on fire this time around and they recorded a 46-17 win.
It was Finland who took the lead early on when captain Jussi Viljanen, the skipper, scored a try. He could not convert.
In the 18th minute Finland scored their second try through full-back Philip Sleath after Viljanen gave him the scoring pass. It was unconverted, but it was 10-0.
Three minutes later, Latvia got themselves on the scoreboard when winger Emils Ceburs went over out wide. It was unconverted and it was 10-5.
In the 26th minute there was then a great finish from tighthead prop Uvis Vasilenko under the posts and Matiss Zicans, the centre converted, to put Latvia 12-10 up.
Six minutes before half-time Latvia were at it again and No.8 Emils Balodis scored their third try which was converted to make it 19-10.
That was the way it stayed at the break, but a fourth try from Latvia at the start of the second period from skipper Elmars Sefanovskis put them 24-10 up.
In the 47th minute, with their tails really up, try number five came for the visitors when centre Davis Jansons went over.
Sleath’s converted try with 26 minutes to go gave Finland hope at 29-17, but then Latvia made sure of the victory.
Vasilenko scored his second try of the day and then, with nine minutes to go, Ceburs did the same for 39-17.
After a missed penalty, Sefanovskis then scored his second try in the dying seconds and Zicans converted to put the icing on the cake.
Latvia sit second and Finland are third in the Pool after this game.
Latvia continue their campaign in the next few weeks as they take on Andorra on November 4th and Norway on November 11th.
By Gary Heatly
Image Laura Helminen (Finland v Latvia)