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Review: Luxembourg claim home play-off spot in Conference

Luxembourg have now won four from four and have finished top of Pool B in the men’s Rugby Europe Conference for 2023/24 after a resounding 84-7 triumph over Slovenia on Saturday.

Going into this game, Luxembourg had won 59-10 away to Bosnia & Herzegovina in October, beaten Austria 27-14 at home in November and edged to an 18-15 triumph in Hungary earlier this month.

As a result, they had 14 points on the board and they now have 19 after this excellent performance against Slovenia, who are fourth in the pool, in the Stade de Luxembourg at the weekend.

Luxembourg scored an amazing 14 tries of which seven were converted in the bonus point win and Slovenia just had no answer.

After Luxembourg’s victory over Slovenia at the weekend they have now earned the right to host the play-off game to reach the Rugby Europe Trophy for season 24/25, as per the tournament regulations. 

They will play the winner of the Moldova v Bulgaria match, which takes place on May 4th, unless this game is a draw in which case Latvia will progress, the play-off will take place on the weekend of the 24-25th May.

As the five-team Pool B comes to a close, it is Hungary who are second after they performed very well in Bosnia & Herzegovina to win 48-13 with a bonus point also on Saturday.

In the Kamberovica Polje Stadium in Zenica, the try count was seven to two in favour of the visitors who are on 11 points after an opening win over Austria way back in September and this one were sandwiched by defeats to Slovenia and Luxembourg.

Bosnia & Herzegovina have lost four from four and are bottom of the group.

In the five-team Pool A, Latvia are top of the standings and will finish there after three wins and a loss from their four games.

Win number three came at home on Saturday after a real end-to-end match with Denmark which they eventually won 29-25.

The supporters in Jelgava were treated to a great 80 minutes and Denmark were leading 14-12 at half-time.

When their winger Rasmus Madum went over for a converted score they were then 19-12 up after 43 minutes.

A five-pointer by Latvia replacement Guntis Cirsa brought things back to 19-17 before a Denmark penalty made it 22-17 with 25 minutes to go.

Back-row Mikelis Jurevics’ try levelled things up before full-back Joakim Nielsen’s penalty looked to have won it for Denmark with two minutes to go.

There was late, late drama though, another try by Jurevics making it 27-25 with 30 seconds left and then full-back Roberts Davidson converted it to spark Latvia celebrations.

They finish on 15 points while Denmark are second on 12. Finland, Andorra and Norway still have matches left to play in that group.

There was no action in Pool D at the weekend, but there was in Pool C and Bulgaria are now second on points difference in the four-team section on points difference after a 30-7 bonus point home win over Serbia on Saturday.

The hosts in Sofia scored four tries to the visiting team’s one in the National Stadium to come through this one.

Türkiye and winless Serbia have now completed their group matches, but current leaders Moldova and Bulgaria will play for top spot on May 4 in the Dinamo Stadium in Chisinau and it promises to be a really interesting contest.

By Gary Heatly
Photos Nick Tenev (Bulgaria v Serbia), Serge Feltes (Luxembourg v Slovenia) 

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