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Preview - Women's Championship continues, Switzerland travel to Croatia in Trophy

Friday is International Women’s Day and on Saturday there is set to be a cracking women’s Rugby Europe Championship contest.

At 5pm local time (4pm UTC) Portugal will be hosting Sweden at the CAR Jamor sports complex in Lisbon and both sides will be looking for their first win of the campaign.

Back at the start of February, Sweden lost their opener 59-0 to Netherlands and since then they have been training hard in preparation for this second away game.

After that Netherlands game, Sweden head coach Tamara Taylor said:  “We came good late on and the girls kept going while there were two new caps involved which is a positive for Swedish rugby. We are going in the right direction we were just a bit slow in this game.”

Portugal are the new team in this expanded four-team event this year and, in their first game, they lost to the same Netherlands team 31-7 in Lisbon on February 24.

Like Sweden, they have had time to work on things between then and now and will be eyeing up this second home outing as a big opportunity.

In their first game, centre Mariana Marques’ try was converted by skipper Daniela Correia while, afterwards, head coach Joao Moura said:  “We were able to compete for 40 minutes and then, credit to Netherlands, they were able to impose their game and physicality on us in the second half and that took the game away from us.”

Portugal are 27th in the current world rankings and Sweden 20th, so the visitors may be favourites, but home advantage may offset that.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day there is a men’s Rugby Europe Trophy match in the Marketa Stadium in Prague between Czechia and Switzerland.

It kicks-off at 2pm local time (1pm UTC) and with Czechia top of the standings and Switzerland second it should be an interesting affair.

This is the resumption of the 2023/24 Trophy for the first time since November 25 when Czechia, who have two wins from three so far in the six-team tournament, defeated Lithuania 34-24.

Switzerland have won two from two and their last outing in the competition was on November 4 when they got the better of Sweden 23-12.

After this game the matches in this competition come thick and fast until the conclusion next month, so both of these sides will want to build up some momentum here.

Czechia are 34th in the world rankings with Switzerland sitting 26th.

By Gary Heatly

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