As the official match ball supplier to all of Rugby Europe's 15s and 7s competitions, Rhino's Vortex Elite was in action across the continent last weekend with plenty at stake, not least Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification. Here's a quick rundown of what happened – and the links to the full match action replay...


Romania take huge step to Rugby World Cup

Just a year after Germany shocked the Mighty Oaks with a 41-38 victory, Romania hit back in some style with a comprehensive 85-6 victory. With Germany missing the majority of its first-choice players from the last campaign, Romania – led by former Pontypridd, Cardiff and Wales coach Lynn Howells – ran in 13 tries to secure a comprehensive win. With Georgia already qualified, Romania remain favourites to qualify for the Rugby World Cup through the Rugby Europe Championship.

Full match action of Romania v Germany 
Russia’s hopes hit by Spain

Although gaining a bit less coverage, there was a second controversial disallowed try at the weekend. Russia's non-try resulted in a 20-13 loss on home soil in Krasanodar against Spain. The decision could cost the Bears dear as Spain strengthened their grip on second place in the qualification race. Spain are now seven points clear of the Russians as they hope to challenge Romania for top spot. If they manage it, a place in Pool A alongside Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the Play-off winner awaits.

Full match action of Russia v Spain 


Georgia make light work of Belgium

Already qualified for the Rugby World Cup thanks to the third-place finish in Rugby World Cup 2015, Georgia are out to win back the Rugby Europe Championship crown. Setting out their stall, Georgia turned on the style for the Kutaisi crowd (the first time they’ve played in the city for 13 years) with a resounding 47-0 win over Belgium.

Full match action of Georgia v Belgium
Unbeaten Netherlands suffer defeat

After wins over Switzerland and Moldova in their first two Rugby Europe Trophy games, Netherlands fell to tournament favourites Portugal 36-12 in Lisbon. Having won the Rugby Europe Trophy last year, Portugal also have an outside chance of Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification via the Europe/Oceania play-off.

Full match action of Portugal v Netherlands
What's next?

On Saturday 17th February, Russia hope to bounce back from the Spain defeat when taking on Belgium; Germany go right back in the frying pan when they face Georgia at home; and, on Sunday 18th February, Romania face a serious test of the Rugby World Cup 2019 credentials in Madrid against Spain.

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Tagged: Rugby Europe