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Trophy Review - Wins for Switzerland, Sweden and Czechia

Switzerland made it four wins from four in the men’s Rugby Europe Trophy on Saturday and are in top spot as the competition edges towards a conclusion.

Their 35-10 home bonus point triumph over Croatia, who have now completed their season, but Switzerland could still secure back-to-back titles with the race between them and Sweden now.

Sweden are currently third on 13 points and need to beat Ukraine on April 6 -ideally with a bonus point - and then hope that Ukraine can shock Switzerland (17 points) a week later.

That is all for another day though and, on the weekend just gone, Switzerland played some great stuff at the Stade Municipal in Yverdon-les-Bains.

Croatia full-back Nikola Pavlovic put the visitors ahead with an early penalty before Switzerland skipper Cyril Lin, the No.8, scored a try after 27 minutes. It was converted by stand-off Simon Perrod and it was 7-5.

The visitors showed they were going to be no pushovers though when they scored a seven-pointer of their own four minutes later.

Domagoj Plazibat was the try scorer with Pavlovic converting.

The game was really getting going now and before the interval Switzerland tighthead prop Vincent Vial went over for his side’s second try, Perrod converting as they led 14-10 at half-time.

Francisco Rizzi, the Croatian winger, was yellow carded early in the second period and when he was off the pitch Switzerland’s third try came.

Their winger Cyril Fluckiger scored it, Perrod converted and it was 21-10 after 50 minutes.

It took until the 73rd minute for Switzerland to make sure of the win against stubborn opponents.

Their fourth try came via scrum-half William Meyer and then, at the death, Fluckiger put the icing on the cake with his second score. Perrod converted both of these as it finished 35-10 after a cracking 80 minutes.

Croatia are now fourth in the table and secure their seat in Trophy division for next season.

On the same day, Sweden kept up the pressure and made it three wins from four after a 27-8 victory in the Siauliai Rugby Academy Stadium in Siauliai on the road in Lithuania.

The visitors led 5-3 at half-time before managing to score a try while they had a man in the sin bin themselves just after the break.

After an hour, the visitors led 20-3 and it finished 27-8 after both sides scored tries in the last 10 minutes.

Lithuania are now fifth in the standings while the team in second splitting Switzerland and Sweden is Czechia.

They were the ‘visiting team’ despite playing Ukraine at Rugby Club Havirov in Havirov on Saturday and they won 48-18 to see Ukraine sit bottom of the standings.

Ukraine have two matches left as previously mentioned to save their place at this level , but Czechia have completed their campaign on 14 points after three wins and two losses.

By Gary Heatly
Photos (Switzerland v Croatia) Neil Dodd, (Lithuania v Sweden) Evaldas Černiauskas

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