Rugby Europe Championship Round 2 Preview

Rugby Europe Championship Round 2 Preview

The first game on Saturday comes in the men’s competition when, at 11.45am local time (10.45am UTC), Poland host Portugal in the Narodowy Stadion in Gdynia.

Last week in Pool B, Portugal secured a 54-17 bonus point win over Belgium in Lisbon while Poland lost out 67-27 to Romania in Bucharest.

Poland head coach Christian Hitt and his players took heart from scoring 27 points away from home against a side building up to the World Cup though and, on home soil, they will look to cause an upset against another team who are off to the showpiece event in France later this year.

Hitt said: “We know that Portugal are going to offer a different threat compared to Romania, but as I’ve said before the guys really enjoyed the opportunity to play at this level last week and challenged themselves individually and collectively.

“The thing for us is to keep moving forward as a squad and building confidence to be able to compete.

“And looking back on the first game we created some really good opportunities, we just didn’t identify them in time and that’s the challenge for us at this level of competition.

“We want to show people that we belong here.”

The second game on Saturday is in men’s Pool A and sees Netherlands host Georgia at 1.15pm local time (12.15pm UTC).

After a convincing 75-12 bonus point win versus Germany in Tbilisi in week one, Georgia will start as favourites at the National Rugby Center in Amsterdam.

However, like Poland, Netherlands troubled a strong team last week - in their case Spain before losing 28-20 in Madrid - and will have taken positives from that.

Netherlands head coach Lyn Jones said: “Following a six-day turnaround from the Spain match, everyone in the Netherlands rugby fraternity is excited about the visit of Georgia to Amsterdam this weekend.

“There’s no need to mention the impressive record they have in this competition or the fact they had excellent victories over Tier One nations in 2022, we have huge challenge in front of us and have our eyes wide open.

“If we want to succeed at this level we need to perform consistently.”

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