Semi Finalists confirmed in the men's Rugby Europe Championship

Semi Finalists confirmed in the men's Rugby Europe Championship

Georgia, Portugal, Romania and Spain are through to the men’s Rugby Europe Championship Cup semi-finals after an exciting final weekend of group stage action.

On Saturday, reigning champions Georgia made sure of their place in the last four and made it three wins from three by defeating Spain in the Avchala Stadium in Tbilisi.

And, although they lost 38-3, Spain still finished up second in Pool A to make it through alongside table topping Georgia.

Spain actually took an early lead in the game through a penalty from stand-off Gonzalo Lopez, but after that Georgia took control.

A converted try four minutes before half-time via scrum-half Tengiz Peranidze, converted by stand-off Luka Matkava, got them going after a cagey first half.

Winger Akaki Tabutsadze’s try and then a penalty try made it 19-3 and worse came for Spain when a player was yellow carded after the second of those efforts.

With 14 minutes to go, centre Giorgi Kveseladze went over for try number four and, in the closing minutes, tries by second-row Mikheili Babunashvili and replacement Demur Tapladze were both converted by sub Tedo Abzhandadze and it finished 38-3.

The bonus point victory means Georgia finish Pool A on 14 points with Spain on nine.

Georgia head coach Richard Cockerill said:  “We got the result that we wanted, we made hard work of it in the first half, but pulled through in the second half and we are delighted with that."

"We had a good first half and defended well, but then they took things away from us in the second half and we had to be better there,” Spain head coach Pablo Bouza said.

Georgia will now have a home semi-final in early March versus Romania.

Romania lost in Pool B to Portugal on Saturday in the Arcul de Triumf stadium in Bucharest meaning that they finished second in Pool B.

After losing their opening group game to Belgium, Portugal have roared back since and they really clicked here in this 49-24 bonus point win on the road.

In a very entertaining first half, Portugal built up a 20-10 lead, full-back Manuel Cardosa scoring a try, captain Tomas Appleton doing the same and stand-off Hugo Aubry kicking 10 points.

The Romanian points in the first 40 minutes came from a try by captain Ovidiu Cojocaru and five points from the boot of stand-off Alin Conache.

After the break, winger Lucas Martins (2), Cardosa and back-row Nicolas Martins scored more tries for Portugal and Aubry kicked nine more points. They also suffered a yellow card in that 40 minutes.

Romania’s second period scores came through tries by centre Taylor Gontineac and sub Ovidiu Neagu both converted by Conache.

João Mirra, a member of the Portugal coaching team, said:  “We are pleased with the win and the players did well, but we must continue to build from here and help our young players get better and better.”

Skipper Cojocaru of Romania said:  “We made some stupid mistakes and some individual mistakes and they cost us.”

Portugal top Pool B on 11 points with Romania on nine and the former will now host Spain in the semi-finals.

In Saturday’s third game, Belgium beat Poland 31-10 with a bonus point to see them finish on nine points alongside Romania in Pool B, but they were pushed into third having lost the head-to-head between the sides.

That will frustrate them, but with two wins in the group phase they are certainly a team on the up and will take a lot of confidence into the rankings semi-finals in a couple of weeks.

At the Stade du Pachy in Waterloo, Belgium led 10-0 at half-time, a try coming from tighthead prop Maxime Jadot with stand-off Hugo de Francq kicking five points.

Poland were hit by two yellow cards in the second half and Belgium scored tries via replacement Alexandre Raynier, scrum-half Julien Berger and second-row Maximilien Hendrickx with de Francq converting all three.

The Polish team scored a try through centre Nicolas Saborit with winger Stasio Maltby kicking five points.

Belgium’s player of the match Thomas de Molder said:  “We are really happy to win this match in front of our home support and now we can build and get better in the play-offs.”

“Defensively Belgium were very strong and we struggled to get on the front foot in this game,” Poland head coach Chris Hitt said.

In the rankings matches semi-finals, Belgium will be at home to Germany and Poland away to Netherlands.

That is because Netherlands managed to secure third place in Pool A on Sunday by defeating the Germans 39-13 with a bonus point at the National Rugby Center in Amsterdam.

Netherlands led 12-10 at the break, winger Siem Noorman and stand-off Reinhardt Fortuin scoring tries with centre David Weersma converting one.

Germany were very much in the match at that stage thanks to a try from hooker Mika Tyumenev and five points from the boot of stand-off Edoardo Stella.

Weersma and Stella traded penalties early in the second half before Netherlands step ped things up a gear.

From 15-10 they scored 24 points in the final 26 minutes.

Back-row Wolk van Dijk and replacement Ross Bennie-Coulson (2) scored tries with Weersma kicking nine points.

“We were playing into the wind in the first half so to have a two point lead at the break was very pleasing and then we took control second half,” Netherlands head coach Lyn Jones said.

Germany head coach Mark Kuhlmann said:  “We made a number of silly mistakes and that always makes things hard, but life goes on and we will prepare for another tough match with Belgium now.”

As a result, it means that Georgia will now face Romania, Portugal will host Spain, Belgium will take on Germany and the Netherlands will welcome Poland during the week end of 2nd and 3rd of March.

Latest News