6NB: Surprise Champions
The big surprise of Round 5 of the Rugby Europe Championship was Romania's victory over Georgia.
This one-point victory, astonishingly, made them the Champions, even though the trophy was awarded to Georgia after the match in Bucharest. "If two or more teams have same number of points the best ranked will be the Union having more match points in the games played between the tied Unions". 8-7 decided it. The trophy belongs to Romania.
Romania started the 2017 campaign beaten by Germany for the first time ever. But since then they have turned their fortunes around, winning their next four matches, including that over the Lelos in Bucharest. The victory was by only a single point, but what an important point.
Qualification from Rugby Europe's Championship for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, carries on in 2018, after which the qualifier for the World Cup and the qualifier for a further chance through répechage will be decided. Romania seem now set fair to join Georgia at. At the same time Germany's hopes, so bright after Round 1, are fading.
If the qualifiers were now decided, Romania would go to Japan and Spain into répechage.
Belgium, just promoted to this elite group, are to play Portugal in May in an attempt to ward off relegation.
Round 5 Results
Russia vs Germany, 52-25
Spain vs Belgium, 30-0
Romania vs Georgia, 8-7
Spain vs Russia, 16-6
Georgia vs Belgium, 31-6
Germany vs Romania, 41-38
Georgia vs Germany, 50-6
Russia vs Belgium, 25-18
Romania vs Spain, 13-3
Romania vs Russia, 30-10
Germany vs Belgium, 34-29
Georgia vs Spain, 20-10
Romania vs Belgium, 33-17
Spain vs Germany, 32-15
Georgia vs Russia, 28-14
Log after Round 5
1. Romania (19 pts)
2. Georgia (19 pts)
3. Spain (13 pts)
4. Russia (9 pts)
5. Germany (8 pts)
6. Belgium (2 pts)
Russia vs Germany
The first half was sedate in cold Sochi, ending with the score 12-7 but the second half produced 58 points.
Tries: Gaisin, Simplikevich, Gerasimov 2, Elgin, Artemyev, Krotov 2
Cons: Yuri Kushnarev 5, Gaisin
Tries: Parkinson, Mathurin 2
Cons: Parkinson, Hilsenbeck
Pens: Hilsenbeck 2
Russia: 15 Yuri Kushnaryov, 14 Denis Simplikevich, 13 Dmitry Gerasimov, 12 Igor Galinovsky, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Ramil Gaisin, 9 Konstantin Uzunov, 8 Anton Rudoy, 7 Dmitry Krotov, 6 Victor Gresev, 5 Evgeny Elgin, 4 Bogdan Fedotko, 3 Innokenty Zykov, 2 Valery Tsnobililze, 1 Andrey Polivalov
Replacements: 16 Nazir Hasanov, 17 Vladimir Podrezov, 18 Azamat Bitiyev, 19 Pavel Butenko, 20 Tagir Hajiyev, 21 Alexey Shcherban, 22 Sergey Trishin, 23 Alexey Mikhaltsov
Germany: 15 Harris Aounallah, 14 Bastian Himmer, 13 Marcel Coetzee, 12 Raynor Parkinson, 11 Pierre Mathurin, 10 Chris Hilsenbeck, 9 Sean Armstrong (captain), 8 Jarrid Els, 7 Kehoma Brenner, 6 Jaco Otto, 5 Sebastian Ferreira, 4 Eric Marks, 3 Samy Füchsel, 2 Mika Tyumenev, 1 Julius Nostadt
Replacements: 16 Dash Barber, 17 Jörn Schröder, 18 Anthony Dickinson, 19 Timo Vollenkemper, 20 H-T Schmidt, 21 Tim Menzel, 22 Oliver Paine, 23 Jamie Murphy
Referee: Cédric Marchat (France)
Assistant referees: Thomas Charabas (France), Thomas Déjean (France)
Spain vs Belgium
At the university ground in Madrid, Spain's Brad Linklater opened the scoring with a penalty after just three minutes. Tries and a second penalty made the half-time score 20-0. Replacement prop Juan Lazaro scored the only try of the second half.
Tries: Martín, Perrin, Jorba
Cons: Linklater 3
Pens: Linklater 3
Spain: 15 Brad Linklater, 14 Silvio Algorritz, 13 Fabien Perrin, 12 Dan Snee, 11 Jordi Jorba, 10 Mathieu Belié, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Jaime Nava De Olano (captain), 7 Gautier Gibouin, 6 Pierre Barthere, 5 Ignacio Martín, 4 David Howarth, 3 Jesus Moreno Rodriguez, 2 Marco Pinto Ferrer, 1 Benat Auzqui
Replacements: 16 Fernando Perez, 17 Juan Anaya Lazaro, 18 Alberto Blanco Alonso, 19 Anibal Fernando Bonan, 20 Ilaitia Gavidi, 21 Sébastien Rouet, 22 Thibaut Alvarez, 23 Alvar Gimeno Soria
Belgium: 15 Alan Williams, 14 Charles Reynaert, 13 Jens Torfs (captain), 12 Florian Piron, 11 Craig Dowsett, 10 Kevin Williams, 9 Tom Cocqu, 8 Thomas Demolder, 7 Baptiste Lescarboura, 6 Bertrand Billi, 5 Thomas Vervoort, 4 Clément Veeckman, 3 Jean-Baptiste De Clercq, 2 Thomas Diensté, 1 Julien Massimi
Replacements: 16 Max Dubois, 17 Christophe Debaty, 18 Tuur Moelants, 19 Gillian Benoy, 20 Sven D'Hooghe, 21 Nathan Bontems, 22 Isaac Montoisy, 23 Maxime Jadot
Referee: Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)
Assistant referees: Radu Petrescu (Romania), Alexandru Ionescu (Romania)
Romania vs Georgia
On Sunday, Romania scored first at Stadionul Arcul de Triumf with its 4 000 spectators, when fullback Catalin Fercu went over for a try.
Just before half-time inside centre Merab Sharikadze scored the Lelos' try, converted by fullback Merab Kvirkashvili.
There was only one score in the second half but a vital one. With 28 minutes still to play, veteran Florin Viaicu, playing his 96th match for his country, goaled a penalty, and Romania led 8-7.
The rest of the match was played with increasing intensity.
Winning meant that Romania take the Championship and also the Antim Cup, named after a saint who had connections with both countries. The last time Romania beat Georgia was in 2010.
Romania: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Stephen Shennan, 13 Jack Umaga, 12 Sione Fakaosilea, 11 Ionut Dumitru, 10 Florin Viaicu, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Mihai Macovei (captain), 7 Andrei Gorcioaia, 6 Viorel Lucaci, 5 Johan van Heerden, 4 Marius Antonescu, 3 Alexandru Tarus, 2 Otar Turashvili, 1 Ionel Badiu
Replacements: 16 Eugen Capatana, 17 Constantin Pristavita, 18 Alexandru Gordas, 19 Valentin Poparlan, 20 Dorin Lazar, 21 Valentin Calafeteanu, 22 Jody Rose, 23 Madalin Lemnaru
Georgia: 15 Merab Kvirkashvili, 14 Irakli Svanidze, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze (captain), 6 Giorgi Tetrashvili, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemasdze, 3 Soso Bekoshvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Shalva Mamukashvili
Replacements: 16 Zurab Zhvania, 17 Tornike Mataradze, 18 Lasha Tabidze, 19 Lasha Lomidze, 20 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 L Malaguradze, 23 Giorgi Koshadze
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)