Israel finished off their Rugby Europe men’s Conference 1 South campaign with a 50-7 win over Slovenia at home on Saturday.
A try by second-row Yotam Shulman which was converted by stand-off Ori Abutbul gave the home side a 7-0 lead early on.
Before half-time they had added three more tries through No.8 Uri Gail, winger Gal Aviram and Abutbul with the latter also kicking a conversion to make it 24-0 at the interval.
Aviram and Shulman both scored second tries of the day with Abutbul converting to make it 38-0 after 60 minutes.
In the final quarter of the encounter Avira completed his hat-trick, replacement Mor Kalifon also went over and fellow sub Daniel Stein kicked a conversion as Israel hit 50.
Slovenia battled hard all match and got their reward in that last quarter when full-back Bor Jamnik scored a try and a conversion.
The result means Israel have won three and lost one of their matches for a total of 14 points. They are currently top of the standings and will now have to wait and see if Bulgaria, currently on eight points from two matches, can get the points required in their upcoming games with Slovenia (April 29) and Cyprus (May 13).
Slovenia are bottom of the standings with no points from three completed games.
Meanwhile, it was a good weekend for Finland too, their battling 31-23 win over Andorra on the road meaning they have won men’s Conference 2 North.
They backed up victories over Denmark and Norway last October with this result to give them an unassailable lead at the top.
In the Estadi Nacional in Andorra la Vella the visitors scored four tries to two and took advantage of two yellow cards for the hosts.
Next up in the tournament is third in the table Andorra versus fourth in the table Norway next Saturday, April 29.
Finally, in the men’s Development competition for 2022/23, Austria backed up their recent win over Kosovo with another.
On April 1 in the Hajvali Stadium in Pristina, Austria came out on top 51-7 and this time at home they were even more impressive.
In the end they came out 95-3 victors in the Stadium of FC Stadlau in Vienna and they scored some well-worked tries along the way.
Kosovo never gave up though and they will have learnt a lot from these two matches this month that they can take forward as rugby continues to grow there.
By Gary Heatly
Photos by Barbara Alexandra Lichtblau-Zakrzanska, Tsari Reizel, Manel Herrero