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Moldova set up play-off spot with Luxembourg, wins for Malta and Andorra.

Moldova made sure of topping men’s Rugby Europe Conference 2023/24 Pool C and secured a play-off place with a very professional performance on Saturday.

They took on Bulgaria in the Dinamo Stadium in Chisinau at the weekend with both sides still in with a chance of finishing top of the four-team group at kick-off, but it was the hosts who took control.

Moldova won this one 48-6 with a bonus point, a cracking driving maul try after just five minutes setting the tone.

Petar Nikolov, the Bulgaria captain and stand-off, then got them on the board via a penalty before, in the 20th minute, winger Ion Copitov got the home support on their feet.

He showed great pace and power to go over in the corner to make it 10-3 before Nikolov’s second penalty made it 10-6.

Moldova once again used their forward pack to good effect before half-time, driving towards the line to allow scrum-half Ion Puica to dive over for their third try. Full-back Adrian Adam converted and it was 17-6 at the interval.

Try number four, which was converted, came for the home side in the 45th minute when second-row Dorin Botan powered his way over the line.

They really had their tails up now and were in complete control and the fifth try came just four minutes later when, after some great hands by forwards and backs, Copitov sped in for his second score. The conversion made it 31-6.

Misin Igor, the centre, got try number six before, in the last 20 minutes, replacements Adrian Costru and Catalin Jardan went over. One of those three was converted as it finished 48-6.

Moldova will play Luxembourg in the play off match in Luxembourg on the weekend May 25-26

Elsewhere, in Pool D at the Tsirio Stadium in Limassol, Cyprus were hosting Malta.

Malta battled to a 24-14 win and they are top of the three- team group currently.

Norway hosted Andorra in Pool A and the visitors came away with an impressive 32-8 triumph.

By Gary Heatly
Photos by Stephen Nicolaou (Cyprus v Malta) & Oleg Bilsagaev (Moldova v Bulgaria) 

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