Portugal has been in home action in recent weeks with two Test Matches at Estadio Nacional do Jamor where they hosted Brazil. Both games were shown on Portugal Rugby TV as viewers from around the globe able to tune in.
Following the conclusion of the series, we spoke to coach Patrice Lagisquet and captain Tomás Appleton on their thoughts, after their side claimed back-to-back wins over their South American visitors.
The results mean Portugal have their eyes firmly looking up as they continue to climb the World Rugby rankings - now moving to 20th in the world.
As a result of the Covid pandemic prevalent throughout 2020, the Portuguese players were forced to train alone at home during the lockdown period. Their captain Appleton admitted that it had been hard work just getting back on to the field, “It’s not the same when you can’t train together with your teammates."
"The fact that the internal competitions ceased between March and September in 2020 made us lose the rhythm of game situations before these games against Brazil.”
Coach Lagisquet added, “We delivered physical training programs to the players and the clubs for them to train when there was no competition, due to the pandemic. In our training, we’ve had to add increased intensity from September to compensate for the absence of competition in the previous months.”
There was no visible sense of lost rhythm from his side, however, in the first encounter the home side registered a convincing 30-10 win over the visitors, with the Lobos running in five tries to one, before following it up with a 33-13 victory the following week.
Both matches were won using very different styles of play, which pleased Lagisquet, “In the first game in good weather, we had the chance to play faster, creating more try-scoring situations. In the second there was a lot of rain, so we had to adapt a different strategy concerning our strengths. We scored exactly the same number of tries in both games. This shows that our team has the capacity to score in many different ways.”
Despite the two wins, Appleton gave credit to his Brazilian counterparts, “We already had a lot of knowledge about Brazil from previous games a year ago. They are very strong when they attack in the front, and they a big physical power, always looking for collisions instead of playing quick ball.”
When asked about which players impressed during the series the captain said, “All the players put in excellent performances in both games, they are all very important for us as a team. But, if I had to highlight the players individually, I would say that Manuel Cardoso Pinto and Thibault de Freitas were great. They have made a lot of progress in the past few months.”
Portugal will now look forward to the resumption of the Rugby Europe Championship when the current pandemic situation allows in 2021 and kick on in their quest to secure a spot at the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
Highlights from both fixtures are available online from PTV and can be found HERE