ENC2B – Cyprus beat Hungary

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ENC2B – Full CYvsHU Game sheet

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The Cypriots entered the field at Paphiacos Stadium on Saturday with much to prove, not just to their increasing band of loyal supporters, but primarily, to themselves.

The heady days of romping through the European Divisions, establishing the new world record for continuous winning international games (24) , and remaining undefeated in six years of international rugby were over. Promotion into Division 2B brought a very different level of opponent, such as the big, beefy, Baltic States.

The Moufflons were faced with the stark reality of relegation after a run of four losses: defeat at the hands of the Hungarians would send them tumbling back to Division 2C.

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The Cypriots entered the field at Paphiacos Stadium on Saturday with much to prove, not just to their increasing band of loyal supporters, but primarily, to themselves. The heady days of romping through the European Divisions, establishing the new world record for continuous winning international games (24) , and remaining undefeated in six years of international rugby were over. Promotion into Division 2B brought a very different level of opponent, such as the big, beefy, Baltic States. The Moufflons were faced with the stark reality of relegation after a run of four losses: defeat at the hands of the Hungarians would send them tumbling back to Division 2C.

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Marco Mladenovic, the captain, issued a rallying cry to his players and supporters: ‘This weekend we are finally back at our home in Paphiacos’; he went on: ‘We’ve learnt a lot from the last few games and are ready to end the wave of losses’. The captain referred to the new young players, that he felt would make a difference to the results, and called on the supporters to stand by the team.

The manager, Rick Wadmore, was confident in a similar vein, when he mentioned the speed of his backs, but stated ‘ Everything will depend on the pack producing good ball for these speedy boys; in recent games we have failed to grasp this, and it has led to us being outplayed by the bigger opponents. The Magyars have a big pack, but I think we will match them’.

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The game started before a very enthusiastic crowd who were determined to cheer on the Moufflons to victory and if volume could do it they had plenty in store. Within five minutes a burst from the ever alert scrum-half, Tourgut, saw him elude four men and touch down for 5 points. Very good interaction by the backs continually threatened the Hungarian line with the mercurial Zavallis, the Moufflon playmaker, delivering penetrating kicks into the opponents try-line only to be thwarted by fumbles and knock-ons. On two occasions it appeared the home side had scored, but the Italian referee, Mr. Tomo, deemed otherwise. A late penalty just before half-time saw King nail 3 points to the score from 35 metres out, against the wind. Moufflons left the field 8-to-0.

Second half opened with the home side faltering and falling into a passage of poor passing giving the Magyars scoring chances which they failed to exploit. Better management by Cyprus in the latter stage of the game led to a try by Matt King— from a superbly timed kick through from Zavallis— which he converted giving the Moufflons a 15 point lead. A penalty from the ensuing drop-out gave the visitors the 3 points that they deserved.

The game was played in an enthusiastic and sporting manner even though both sides knew that relegation faced the loser.

Laurence Vassilliou, the president of the Cyprus Rugby Federation, was much relieved at the end and stated: ‘That was a hard fought contest and I thought we deserved to win. We are going through a period of transition where the old guard are making room for the new boys, and that is how it should be. But that brings with it the hazards of trying to establish the right blend: speed, fitness and vigour with strength, nous and experience. I think we are getting there; stay with us’.

It was noticeable that the visitors had a full contingent of support services, coach, manager, physio and team doctor. When will the Moufflons be able to afford such luxury when traveling abroad.

by Alexander McCowan

Photos. Stephen Nicolaou

Source :  http://www.parikiaki.com/


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