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Portugal v Netherlands WREC24

Review Portugal v Netherlands - Women's Rugby Europe Championship 24

After an opening victory at home to Sweden early in the month, they travelled to the CAR Jamor high-performance sports facility on the outskirts of Lisbon.

Portugal were playing their first ever match in the Championship and it was a great day of celebration in their country, but it was the visitors who came out on top in the end 31-7.

Netherlands took the lead after seven minutes when back-rower Elisabeth Boot went over for a try which was converted by stand-off Jet Metz.

Portugal showed they were going to make it tough though when, in the 15th minute, centre Mariana Marques’ try was converted by skipper Daniela Correia.

Netherlands did manage to take a 12-7 lead into half-time when replacement Lieve Stallmann, who had come on 11 minutes earlier, scored a try on the half hour mark.

That gave them a boost heading into the second period and, soon after the restart, a five-pointer from Anoushka Beukers made it 17-7.

Things got harder for Portugal in the 49th minute when second-row Ana Casas was yellow carded.

While she was off Netherlands stretched their advantage to 24-7, loosehead prop Nicky Dix scoring and Metz converting.

With Casas restored, Portugal suffered another yellow card for Marques and, while they were down to 14 again, Netherlands’ final try came from Beukers with Metz converting to finish things at 31-7.

Linde Van Der Velden, the Netherlands skipper, said:  “I think we were able to adapt well. In the first half we were under a lot of pressure, we weren’t sure what Portugal were going to bring, but in the second half we adapted much better to the conditions and the opponents.”

Joao Moura, the Portugal head coach, 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.”

The tournament continues on March 9 when Portugal take on Sweden and it runs until April 13.

By Gary Heatly
Photos: Luis Cabelo

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