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Spain and Switzerland take honours after a busy weekend of action

Spain women and Switzerland men are celebrating this week after both clinched titles at the weekend.

After a bonus point win in Sweden on Saturday, Spain retained the women’s Rugby Europe Championship crown and qualified for WXV as a result.

And a bonus point victory of their own for Switzerland at home to Ukraine on Saturday made sure they made it five from five in the men’s Rugby Europe Trophy and finished in top spot.

Spain have dominated the women’s Championship since 2016 and they have dominated again this year.

They knew that an away win of any kind in Trelleborg would see them leapfrog Netherlands at the top of the table and make it three victories from three and they did it in style.

Spain were 17-0 up on Sweden after just 17 minutes, tries coming from winger Clara Piquero, No.8 Valentina Perez and second-row Nadina Cisa with full-back Claudia Pena converting two of them.

A further score by back-row Alba Capell, converted by Pena, made it 26-0 at half-time.

Piquero (3) to complete a hat-trick and register four in total and replacements Vico Gorrochategui and Cristina Blanco added further tries after the interval as they won 53-0.

Sweden finish bottom of the four-team table while, unsurprisingly, Piquero was the player of the match as Spain celebrated at the end.

Meanwhile, in Zurich, Switzerland’s men were in similarly ruthless form to see off Ukraine 68-0.

Ukraine finish bottom of the six-team tournament here and they just could not stop the Swiss once they got on the front foot.

The hosts came out of the blocks flying and two tries from winger Cyril Fluckiger and one apiece from No.8 Cyril Lin the skipper, scrum-half William Meyer, tighthead prop Reuben Bachofner-Brown and winger Hugo Malyon - with five converted by stand-off Jules Porcher - made it 40-0 at half-time.

Maylon scored a second after the break which Porcher converted before Fluckiger completed his hat-trick, Maylon did the same and then Donovan O'Grady put the icing on the cake with the final try. Replacement O’Grady also converted the last three.

The result for Switzerland now means that they have been promoted to next year's men's Rugby Europe Championship, after finishing top of Trophy following the two year qualifying cycle. 

In the men’s Rugby Europe Conference on Saturday, Türkiye won in Serbia 31-22, Denmark got the better of Norway 41-5 and Austria came away from Slovenia with a 31-14 triumph in the bag.

Denmark are top of Pool A as a result of their polished showing.

On Sunday, Montenegro and Kosovo rounded off the weekend’s action in the men’s Rugby Europe Development Division.

Montenegro won this one 35-12.

By Gary Heatly
Photos: Crister Ulf Plåtis Thorell (Sweden v Spain) & Neil Dodd (Switzerland v Ukraine)

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