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Portugal take on Netherlands in Women's Championship debut

“We are focused on doing our best, growing and evolving”: Excitement as Portugal get set for women’s REC action

Portugal are excited to be making the step up to the women’s Rugby Europe Championship this year for the first time ever and they are hosting Netherlands on Saturday.

The Netherlands will be travelling to the game at the CAR Jamor high-performance sports facility on the outskirts of Lisbon at 12.30pm local time (12.30pm UTC) as favourites given that they got their own campaign off to a flyer on February 3.

They beat Sweden 59-0 then while they are 15th in the world rankings compared to Portugal’s 27th, but all eyes will be on the hosts after they won the Trophy in 2022/23 and were promoted to this expanded four-team event.

Portugal head coach João Moura said:  “Everyone is eager for the competition to begin. We haven't played for a long time and we want to get back on the field.

“Playing for the first time in our history at Championship level is even more exciting and all the team want to do is to perform in the best way possible.

“Winning is always good and important, it increases confidence levels and motivation, so we can take things from the recent Trophy success.

“All teams work with their eyes set on victory and our team is certainly no different. Our players' mentality is very competitive and they always want more.

“We are focused on doing our best, growing and evolving as we work to be as competitive as possible in this Championship with all our opponents.”

So, what are the key things the Portugal squad have been working on ahead of playing at this level.

“We've been focusing some of our work at the set pieces and our defence,” Moura said.

“We know that the intensity and speed of the game will be different from last year and we want to be as prepared as possible for this reality. This first game will be a good moment of evaluation to confirm what we have been working on.

“Playing at home is always important and starting this Championship at home allows us, we hope, to bring more people to the stadium and continue to promote women's rugby in the best way possible.

“We expect a very physical and intense game versus Netherlands. They are a very experienced side who have been competing at this level for many years now.”

As mentioned, Netherlands will be making the trip in confident mood and they really are keen to make their mark and make it two wins from two before holders Spain enter the event next month.

Sylke Haverkorn, their head coach, said:  “Together we have overcome obstacles and pushed boundaries. Our journey has brought us here as a close-knit, young Dutch women's rugby team. This means that we are not just a team, but a family that supports and inspires each other.

“Our road to success is filled with perseverance, resilience and inexhaustible passion. We are constantly keen to improve our performance and continue to grow together because the meaning of our team goes beyond the field.”

You can watch the game on our YouTube channel and on 

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