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Men's Rugby Europe Championship Hot Stats | Round 3

The curtain from the pool stage of the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship 2024 has come down and the Championship and Ranked semi-finals are set in stone.

Portugal were able to land a memorable win in Bucharest, booking a home semifinal versus Spain. Georgia will welcome their long-time rivals Romania in Tbilisi. Netherlands and Belgium will also host their ranked semifinals, welcoming Poland and Germany, respectively, as the relegation battle is heating up.  

Clean Breaks: 7

The Lobos needed a victory at a Stadium where they only won once in the last thirty years, and João Mirra’s men did exactly that, landing a result that will be forever remembered.

The Portuguese attacking flair stole the show, threading the needle with such precision and eloquence, be it from the magical sidesteps of Manuel Cardoso Pinto and Lucas Martins, or the two Hugo’s Aubry & Camacho's swift running skills.

The Portuguese finished the match with seven clean breaks, returning to that offensive axis that brought them joy in 2023. Young winger Lucas Martins finished with two clean breaks, followed closely by Manuel Cardoso Pinto and Hugo Aubry. 

Successful Maul Drives: 4

Lyn Jones rugby laboratory keeps delivering some delicious nouvelle creations, and the ten-men maul drive was sensational, not only because of fans having the pleasure to watch wings and centres joining in but also because it was effective method of attack, leading to three out of five tries for the home team.

Yes, in the end, it was a forward driving the oval ball to the white-wash, but the sheer power and speed of those mauls made Amsterdam’s National Rugby Center rock. The maul has become one of the most effective weapons of the Dutch team, proving to be the cornerstone of another memorable victory against their long-time rivals, Germany. 

Turnovers: 6

The Lelos brought their A-game against Spain, and what a display of physicality and power they produced in the second half, successfully creating havoc and poaching six breakdown turnovers.

Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Tornike Jalagonia, and Ilia Spanderashvili's efforts to pillage the Spanish ruck were pivotal to breaking the Leone's spirits and supplying the Georgian backline with the necessary opportunities to expand their lead.

The visitors felt unease to take the ball quickly from the ruck especially in the second half, as the Georgian team continued to execute turnover ball. The Men’s Rugby Europe Championship title holders have returned to their best, and the breakdown skills will be vital in the upcoming semifinal.  

Defenders Beaten: 29

Against Poland, the Black Devils beat twenty-nine incoming tacklers, with Florian Remue (eight), Hugo de Francq (seven), and Jordan Gott (six) shinning at every carry, creating a free flow of issues for their Polish opposition. Belgium’s offensive gameplan has clicked in this edition of the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship, and the super flourish of sidesteps and footwork has become one of their main highlights. 

Belgium might’ve not qualified for the Rugby Europe Championship semi-final, but their growth in the last twelve months is nothing short of formidable, as they became a serious lethal team, mainly when the ball falls into their possession.

The teams now have a fallow week before they return to the pitch for the semi-finals of the competition on the weekend of 2nd & 3rd of March.

By Francisco Isaac

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