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“Our supporters are just magic”: Belgium seeking home comforts in rankings semi

Any strong rugby team has a strong eight-nine combination and Thomas De Molder and Julien Berger have been in excellent form for Belgium so far during the men’s Rugby Europe Championship campaign.

The experienced pairing are also likely to be key this coming weekend when the knock-out phase begins and the Belgians, who have already beaten Portugal and Poland in group play, host Germany in their rankings last four match.

Having just missed out on the Cup semi-finals, Belgium have fifth place on their minds and they know to have a chance of doing that come March 17 in France then they firstly have to win on Saturday evening in the Stade du Pachy in Waterloo (7pm local time, 6pm UTC).

“It’s always amazing to play in Belgium, our supporters are just magic,” 31-year-old No.8 De Molder said.

The Germans are very physical, so we’ll have to make a big game and play well to win.

“We are in a good place though and beating a team like Portugal a few weeks ago was just an incredible feeling - it was a great moment for Belgian rugby.

“Before we played Poland more recently we already knew that we could not make the Cup semi-final because of results elsewhere, but we still went out and did a good job and playing any home game really is special to us.

“We’re lucky to have had more time to work together as a squad recently and this team is a real family.”

And, carrying on the family theme, before the 10-6 win over Portugal in Mons back on February 3, De Molder was lucky enough to have his two sons involved.

“It’s always a special moment before international, matches, but against Portugal I had the chance to sing the anthem with my two boys - it’s a memory for life for sure,” the back-rower, who has nearly 50 caps to his name, explained.

Meanwhile, Berger, the 34-year-old scrum-half, already has over 50 caps to his name and really does make the team’s attack tick.

Like De Molder, he is looking forward to another home match and said:  “It’s nice for us and for our fans to have a home ranking match. The board [governing body of the sport in the country] has done an enormous amount of work over the past few months and we feel that support.

“Germany finished fourth in their group, but they are a tough team to play against.

“We will have to be very serious about this match, play our rugby and not fall into their trap.

“We are concentrating now on this Germany game as we look to continue growing.

The win against Portugal was awesome and the squad has progressed really well since the beginning of our campaign. Indeed, after the wins against Portugal and Poland and a big game against Romania, the team has gained a lot of confidence.

“We have set high standards for ourselves - now we must keep them up.”

Where to watch :

  • BEL : Rugbyeurope.TV
  • GER : ProSieben Maxx
  • Rest of the World : RugbyEurope.TV

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