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Round 2

Round 2 Preview - Men's REC 24

Round one of the men’s Rugby Europe Championship for 2024 was sensational, so round two has a lot to live up to, but the four matches to come at the weekend certainly whet the appetite and look exciting.

First up on Saturday, Georgia take on Netherlands at the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi in Pool A at 2pm local time (10am UTC).

Georgia go into this one after a win away to Germany, but they were pushed hard and did not get a bonus point, so will be keen to be ‘on it’ from the first minute here.

Netherlands lost to Spain last time out, but can take heart from lots of parts of their performance.

This is 13 in the world versus 29 and last year Georgia won the corresponding match 40-8.

Netherlands head coach Lyn Jones said:  “It was an excellent match last weekend against Spain, it’s the first time I’ve coached a team that has hit all of its ‘key performance indicators’ and still lost.

“Both sides were rusty, but we grew into the match, missing three kicks at goal eventually costing us a victory.

“For us, it’s all about a steady climb up the performance graph. This week we have the competition’s toughest match in Tbilisi. “We travel with no restrictions or fear of losing, only wanting to deliver consistency in our game and standards. We are so excited to experience the toughest of tests.”

Romania and Belgium then meet in Saturday’s second game, the Pool B clash taking place at the Arcul de Triumf stadium in Bucharest at 2.30pm local time (12.30pm UTC).

Both sides had wins in week one, but one team was happier than the other.

Romania laboured to a win in Poland while Belgium had the biggest win in their history at home to Portugal.

This is 26 against 20 in the world and last year Romania won the corresponding group phase game 56-5.

David Gérard, the Romania head coach, said:  “We are taking on the sensations of round one Belgium.

“We will make changes because we are in a reconstruction cycle and we must give the players the chance to prove themselves. We have no other choice but to win this game if we want to hope to qualify for the final [Cup] stages.

“Playing at home means a lot for the players, they will play in front of their home crowd and their family. We all thank everyone who's going to be there.”

The competition then stays in Pool B for the Saturday evening match when Portugal welcome Poland to the Estadio Nacional do Jamor in Lisbon at 7pm local time (7pm UTC).

Both sides lost last time out, but Poland will have taken more positives from their performance.

Portugal won 65-3 in the group stage game between these sides in 2023 and they are 16 in the world now with Poland at 33.

Tomas Appleton, the Portugal captain, said:  “We won't easily forget the Belgium defeat, however, sometimes, these experiences are crucial. It is essential to recognise the negative aspect and learn from the loss to appreciate certain aspects and value our team spirit.

“We have identified the areas in which we need improvement, we understand the deficiencies as a group and we have determined the sectors of the game that require enhancements.

“I don't believe last week’s result will shake our confidence in the future, but it serves as a wake-up call, signalling the need for even greater effort moving forward.”

Poland head coach Chris Hitt said:  “It was a scrappy game against Romania, but I am proud to see how the guys have developed over the past 12 months. We've got some work to do as we want to stay here in this competition.

“Obviously, as good as it is to say that we have developed, we need to win as well. And we will look to back ourselves going forward.”

Spain versus Germany in Pool A on Sunday rounds off the weekend of action.

The match is being played at the Estadio Universidad Complutense in Madrid at 12.45pm local time (11.45am UTC).

Spain are 19th in the world with Germany sitting 32nd and when the sides met in the group phase last year the Spanish team won 32-14.

Germany head coach Mark Kuhlmann said:  “We've now seen that we can definitely compete in this tournament if we all pull together and everyone can deliver their best performances.

“Of course, expectations will now rise after the good game against Georgia, but Spain are a strong team. It will be a completely different game and certainly no easier than the last one.”

Games will be live broadcast on :

  • IMEDI and Rugby TV (Georgia) for Georgia v Netherlands.
  • ZIGGO (Netherlands) for Georgia v Netherlands 
  • SPORT TV (Portugal) : Portugal v Poland
  • MOVISTAR + (Spain) : Spain v Germany
  • PRO SIEBEN MAXX (Germany) : Spain v Germany
  • Joyn and (Germany) : All Games
  • RugbyPass TV : Spain v Germany
  • RugbyEuropeTV : All games

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