Posted on 15 February 2017 : Report of rugby match between Cyprus and Andorra.
‘Devastated’ was the response of veteran manager, Theo Lenos, to the last minute score by the home side to win by 15-14points. The Moufflons came with a minute of victory, when the referee awarded a scrum 5metres from the Cypriot line, for an undisclosed offence, resulting in a try under the posts that they failed to convert.
Lenos, who has managed the Moufflons through the glory days said’ the match started with some ferocious hits. We defended valiantly and would not let them through which obviously frustrated them; they are a very big powerful side and used to having their own way. This led to a confrontation in the pack that resulted in Marco (Mladanovic) our captain and their captain being sin-binned. The people on the sideline were baffled by the decision. We had only two day to prepare for this game and it is such a long time we have played together, I’m not making excuses, but as you know we pull in players from the diaspora, some of whom have never met each other before, and it takes time to blend and bind a team The Andorrans are playing together in the French and Spanish leagues on a weekly basis, we don’t have that situation. But, regardless of that, we played out of our skins and should have come away with a win, but it was not to be.’
Cyprus opened the scoring with a superb run by Luke Peters just before the close of the first half which was converted by Renno Ioannou, giving the Moufflons a 7 point lead. The second half witnessed a change of tactics by the home side where they took advantage of their height and weight to bullock the Moufflons in the scrums and lines. They developed a technique whereby they created a maul following a lines-out, which enabled them to carry the ball among the forwards and force their opponents over the goal line enabling them to touch down for a try. This became the preferred method of attack by the Andorrans, because it was apparent that when the ball was in open play the Moufflons triumphed. This was the method by which Cyprus scored the second try with Sam Burns—-brother of the England and Gloucester player— gathering a kick ahead and scoring in the corner presenting a difficult convertion for Renno Ioannou, nevertheless he slotted it between the posts taking the score to 14-10 for Cyprus which continued until a couple of minutes from the end when the referee awarded a scrum five metres from the Moufflon line which the home side wasted no time in gaining a push-over try. Final score: Andorra 15-Cyprus 14.
‘It was a long way to go for such a narrow result. It could easily have gone the other way’ said Laurence Vassiliades, the Federation President, ‘ our defence was terrific; we just didn’t have enough beef to counteract the set piece tactics. This is an area our coaches will be trying to address in the coming weeks. As you know I said the game was crucial; we are without a win with little time to rectify it. This is a one season league and this was a game between the two bottom teams, now we are holding up the others. However, as usual, we make a lot from a very meagre pot. I am very proud of our players, they always give 100percent and never fail to give of their best in very difficult circumstances.’
Cyprus now have to face Croatia in April.