The Cyprus Men’s 7s team participated in the first leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens, Men’s Trophy (Former Rugby Europe Division A 7s) held in Malmö, Sweden on Saturday and Sunday 11-12th of June 2016.
The Cyprus team consisted of the following players lead by the experienced coach Mr Ruaridh Pye from Scotland:
Matthew King (Captain), George Agathokleous, Fidias Efthymiou, Joannou Christopher, Luke Frixou, Marcus Holden, Marko Mladenovic, Andreas Zacharia, Alexander Zavallis-Roebuck, Yiannis Loizias and Dimitris Grigoriou.
Mr Alexander Zavallis-Roebuck spoke of the teams goals for the 2 tournaments in Sweden and then Prague on the weekend 2-3/7/2016 “Strongest squad we’ve ever had for a competition. We’ve all put in the hard work on and off the field with weekly tests to report to one another and a warm up tournament in Musselburgh club. Players have also been involved in UK competitions. The Team is really excited for this year’s 7s and hope to push beyond the achievement of last year”
The first match of the of the two-day tournament saw Cyprus take on the Czech Republic. Cyprus played well and deservedly won the game 31-24. A much tougher test followed playing the host Sweden. Cyprus lost the game with a big margin 40-0 and had to beat Romania in the last game of day 1 to reach the quarter finals (Cup + Plate). Romania were seeded number 1 before the tournament and Cyprus manage to reverse the scores and win 21-14. A great achievement by the team.
Mr Ruaridh Pye said after day one “Played well against the Czech Republic. Struggled psychologically game two, a lot of forced errors and poor skill set let us down. Regrouped for game three with some hard truths prior to warm up which reignited the Cypriot fire and carried us through.
We’ll have to get back to the hotel and start our recovery this evening. Ireland have a very specific style of play which we will be working hard to counter act come 10:45 tomorrow.”
Ireland was the bookies favorites for the tournament and although Cyprus played well the final score saw Ireland win 31-12. It is noted that Ireland only conceded 5 tries in the whole tournament. Cyprus had the best defence and attack against Ireland.
Next game for Cyprus were Israel a difficult game with fatigue of the second day seem to have affected on the team that lost by a small margin 17-14.
The last Cyprus match which was to determine the final ranking of the first tournament was against Latvia which Cyprus won easily by a score of 19-0. Revenge for the defeat of the National Cyprus XVs this year by the Latvians.
The president of Cyprus Rugby Federation Mr. Vasiliadis stated “Well done to the players and staff. Unlucky with the draws that meant the team was to play the favorites Ireland early. The fact that the final was won by Ireland beating the hosts Sweden comfortably by 57 -0 confirmed that Ireland were the favorites.
Interesting championship with teams like Sweden excelling and Romania not doing as well as expected. I wish the team the best in the second tournament in Prague 2-3 July. It is a more difficult playing environment I feel than previous years with opponents much better prepared and strengthened and this seems to be a result of major sponsorships in 7s in the European tournaments due I believe to the fact that the Rugby 7s is now an Olympic sport and debuts at the Olympics in Rio this year.
Our athletes are all amateurs and it is difficult to prepare the team to the extent necessary to overcome and win the championship. A big thank you to all who helped the team and specifically in Mr. Felix Frixou, whose assistance has been crucial for the preparation and participation of the team in this year European 7s tournaments.