There were away wins for Luxembourg and Slovenia in Pool B of the men’s Rugby Europe Conference on Saturday.
It was first run out of the campaign for Luxembourg and their hosts Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Atletski Stadion Kamberovića polje Stadium in Zenica and the visitors were on top form.
They came out on top 59-10 with a bonus point and they put together a good 80 minutes.
Captain Christian Olsen, the centre, set up winger Yared Ketema for the opening try after just two minutes which was converted by centre Gauthier Bares.
Their second try after seven minutes was a great team try featuring some excellent handling and when it was converted it was 14-0.
A penalty from full-back Mahir Bisic got Bosnia & Herzegovina on the scoreboard in the 16th minute before Luxembourg scored their third try.
Hugo Bertani, the stand-off, went over from an interception and Bares added the extras for 21-3.
In the 24th minute, while a home player was being treated for an injury, the referee played on and Luxembourg took advantage, shipping the ball wide for full-back Matteo Franzina to power his way over the line for an unconverted score.
Bares bagged their fifth try just before the half hour mark and when it was converted it was 33-3.
Things got even better for them a few minutes later when No.8 Anthony Drennan went over for a seven pointer.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s heads did not go down though and they scored their only try of the game before half-time.
Morgan Checchin, the replacement, scored it and Bisic converted to make it 40-10 at the interval.
Unlike the first half, there were few points in the second with Luxembourg replacement Domenico Orsino going over for the first ones of that period in the 67th minute. It was converted for 47-10.
There was still time for sub Luca Zanette-Mansel to score and then, after a good break by replacement William Browne, Ketema went over for the final try with Bares converting for 59-10.
Luxembourg are top of the Pool while Slovenia are third after they picked up four points by seeing off Hungary, who are now second, 29-17.
At the Budapest Rugby Center in Budapest, it was Hungary who took the lead on home turf when hooker Aron Erdelyi went over for an early try converted by stand-off Kornel Kiss.
Hungary had began their campaign with a bonus point win away in Austria at the end of September and looked to be kicking on here, but 13 minutes before half-time second-row Tadej Pus went over for Slovenia’s first try. Full-back Bor Jamnik converted and it was 7-7.
It was 10-10 at the break after Kiss and Jamnik swapped penalties.
In the 50th minute Slovenia went ahead when centre Igor Mihelic went over for a try converted by Jamnik.
Winger Erik Csapo was then yellow carded for Hungary, but no points were scored at either end while he was off.
Things got even better for Slovenia in the 66th minute though when tighthead prop Blaz Pilko scored their third try and a missed conversion made it 22-10.
Hungary made things really interesting by making it a five-point game with seven minutes remaining, centre Mark Stiglmayer’s try being converted by Kiss.
With 120 seconds left on the clock Stiglmayer was yellow carded for Hungary and Slovenia took advantage to make sure of a win, a penalty try being awarded to finish things off at 29-17.
Slovenia will face Bosnia & Herzegovina on Saturday to confirm their performance and take the lead of the Pool in case of a second success in the competition. (Saturday – KO 2.00pm CET – live on rugbyeurope.tv)
By Gary Heatly
Photos: János Gábor Hidvégi and Bosnia and Herzegovina.