2019 Rugby Europe Championship

Discussion in 'Tier Two & Three Rugby' started by Bruce_ma_goose, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    The pinnacle of the Rugby Europe international tournament structure kicks off next weekend. With an assaulted referee, two eliminated sides due to selection issues and a host of controversial refereeing decisions, 2018 will be impossible to follow in terms of outright controversy. Hopefully the sport of rugby can return to centre stage. The gaps between sides is smaller than with the ARC, so there is potential for regular upsets. Here are basic breakdowns of the runners and riders.

    Georgia - RWC bound, likely to continue in their recent vein of reducing average player age and moving away from a reliance on their pack. Their scrum has bizarrely weakened in recent years, but they should head into this as strong favourites, being fairly settled on both the coaching and player front. Prediction: 1st

    Romania - have an interim coach in place while they wait on World Rugby to identify a suitable candidate. After a horrible 2018, where Romania lost out on an RWC place due a technicality, it is time for the new generation to be blooded and start building for 2023. While results in November were bordering on calamatous, there were many flashes of optimism that the next generation may be better than it's predecessors in the backline. But can they retain enough strength in the pack to give these young backs an opportunity to shine? Apparently they had a bounce match with Portugal at the weekend and looked okay, but they'll not repeat their championship winning effort of 2017 this year. Prediction: 3rd

    Russia - the main beneficiaries of Romania & Spain's player eligibility issues, Russia have definitely shown serious progress in the past 18 months and shouldn't turn up in Japan as dead ducks there merely on a technicality (they lost by only 5 points when playing Japan in November). They are managing to finally convert some of their Siberian club sides form into the national team. If that continues, they should defeat a Romania in transition, and may put up a fight with Georgia for the title if Georgia really roll the dice on player selections. Prediction: 2nd

    Spain - Spain have their own league, but unlike the above nations, don't participate in Rugby Europe's club competitions, which may hinder their growth (but help their bank balance). A solid side that can occasionally show some flair, Spain should compete strongly with Romania and Russia without ever threatening for a title push. Prediction: 4th

    Germany - German rugby is riven by a dispute between the union and Mr Capri Sun's Wild Academy. They would certainly have been relegated last year with the Wild Academy players not playing, but for the penalties Spain and Romania received. Germany made it to the final qualification match for the RWC, but lost to Canada. Even with the Wild Academy players, they should be slightly below Romania / Spain / Russia. 4th would be a great bit of progress for them. Prediction: 5th

    Belgium - probably my least favourite team in international rugby. The appropriate passion of their fans is not mirrored by the inappropriate passion of their players. Main tactics appear to be to unsettle the opposition and get under their skin, so they lose focus on spanking you at rugby. If their opponents can keep their cool and not field ineligible players, then a relegation playoff with Portugal (or Netherlands) will likely beckon. Prediction: 6th


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    Week 1:

    Romania vs Georgia - a shame this comes at the start of the tournament, as Romania will likely improve as the tournament progresses. Their coach on debut can't reasonably be expected to win this. Georgia by 15

    Belgium vs Germany - Belgium's one shot at avoiding relegation comes in the first match. They get a massive boost at home due to a decent turnout of fans but if Germany have their first XV available, this shouldn't be too difficult. Germany's pack is decent and will exert control here. Germany by 7

    Spain vs Russia - Spain will feel they, and not Russia, should be at the RWC, but really there is nothing to choose between the two sides. Spain won in Russia last year after a controversial refereeing decision against Russia (mainly due to a lack of TMO) but Russia really impressed me in November. Russia by 2
     
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  3. Welshdragon2000

    Welshdragon2000 Senior Member

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    Good post.

    My predictions are as follows:
    1. Georgia
    2. Russia
    3. Spain
    4. Romania
    5. Germany
    6. Belgium

    I was very tempted to put Germany above Romania there. I was not impressed with Romania at all after their game against Portugal. However, when they played Portugal they were absolutely superb. It’s a funny old sport.
    Georgia now have Rowntree as their forwards coach so their scrum will improve big time as will the rest of their forward play (namely defending and attacking mauls hopefully!). Some brilliant forwards coming through from the u20 team right now as well. This will be the tournament that Abzhandadze breaks out on the scene. I was impressed with him in November but he was only settling in so he will hopefully kick on again and go up another level. With a solid, creative 10, the whole of the Georgian backline should improve at long last.
    Russia were brilliant in November. Best I’ve seen them play in the 3 years I’ve followed tier 2 rugby. Their creativity was really impressive so they’re a shoe-in for 2nd. Spain will be hard to tell. Good youngsters coming through but they won’t leave their mark for a couple of years at least. Germany impressed me in the repechage and I thought they could have played a lot better against Canada. They were also missing their best back, Schulte, for the majority of the tournament so (provided he’s playing and the first choice team is there) then Germany could do very well.
    I’m hoping that the Netherlands can win the trophy and get promoted. They’re doing really well at the moment and their youngsters are really strong.

    Prediction for this weekend:
    Georgia by 20
    Germany by 16
    Russia by 13
     
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  4. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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  5. themole25

    themole25 Senior Member

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  6. amz

    amz Senior Member

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    You meant other team? Because it does not makes sense, you were not impressed but they played superb.

    Oaks squad for Georgia match:

    Props:
    Mihaita Lazar (Grenoble)
    Ionel Badiu (Valence Romans Drôme Rugby)
    Andrei Ursache (Carcassonne)
    Constantin Pristavita (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
    Alex Gordas (CSM Bucuresti)

    Hookers:
    Otar Turashvili (Colomiers)
    Eugen Capatina (Timisoara Saracens)
    Ovidiu Cojocaru (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)

    Locks:
    Marian Drenceanu (CSM Bucuresti)
    Marius Antonescu (Colomiers)
    Johan Van Heerden (Perpignan)

    Backrow:
    Mihai Macovei (Colomiers)
    Andre Gorin (Massy)
    Adrian Ion (CSM Bucuresti)
    Cristi Chirica (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
    Viorel Lucaci (CSA Steaua)
    Dorin Lazar (Timisoara Saracens)

    Scrum-halves:
    Florin Surugiu (CSA Steaua)
    Valentin Calafeteanu (CSM Bucuresti)

    Fly-half:
    Daniel Plai (CSA Steaua)

    Centers:
    Florin Vlaicu (CSM Bucuresti)
    Alexandru Bucur (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
    Vladut Popa (Timisoara Saracens)
    Catalin Fercu (Timisoara Saracens)
    Cosmin Iliuta (CSM Bucuresti)

    Wings:
    Ionut Dumitru (CSA Steaua)
    Nicolas Onutu (CSM Bucuresti)
    Vladut Zaharia (Timisoara Saracens)

    Fullbacks:
    Marius Simionescu (Timisoara Saracens)
    Ionel Melinte (CSA Steaua)

    Staff: Marius Tincu – Interim Head Coach
    Lasha Tavartkiladze - forwards
    Danie de Villiers – backs
    Lynn Howells – consultant on behalf of WR
    James de Lacey – strength and conditioning
    Florin Tasca – strength and conditioning

    Form foreign based players, Motoc is recovering after an injury and Tarus will stay with his club from now but will come to next matches.

    Lelos Squad:

    Props:
    Levan Chilachava (Montpellier, FRA)
    Giorgi Melikidze (Stade Francias, FRA)
    Beka Gigashvili (Grenoble, FRA)
    Guram Gogichashvili (Racing 92, FRA)
    Tornike Mataradze (Nevers, FRA)

    Hookers:
    Shalva Mamukashvili (Enisei-STM, RUS)
    Goga Khuroshvili (RC Armazi, GEO)
    Giorgi Chkoidze (Lelo Saracens, GEO)

    Locks:
    Giorgi Nemsadze (Ospreys, WAL)
    Nodar Tcheishvili (Cornish Pirates, ENG)
    Davit Gigauri (CSM București, ROM)
    Grigol Kerdikoshvili (Lelo Saracens, GEO)

    Back row:
    Giorgi Tkhilaishvili (RC Batumi, GEO)
    Beka Saghinadze (Aurillac, FRA)
    Giorgi Tsutskiridze (Aurillac, FRA)
    Giorgi Javakhia (Aurillac, FRA)
    Beka Gorgadze (Bordeaux, FRA)

    Scrum Half:
    Giorgi Begadze (Locomotive, GEO)
    Vasil Lobzhanidze (CA Brive, FRA)
    Gela Aprasidze (Montpellier, FRA)

    Fly Half:
    Tedo Abzhandadze (Aia Kutaisi, GEO)

    Centre:
    Merab Sharikadze (Aurillac, FRA)
    Lasha Malaguradze (VVA Saracens, RUS)
    Giorgi Kveseladze (RC Armazi, GEO)

    Wings:
    Mirian Modebadze (Aia Kutaisi, GEO)
    Giorgi Koshadze (RC Kharebi, GEO)
    Alexandre Todua (Lelo Saracens, GEO)
    Zurab Dzneladze (Locomotive, GEO)

    Full Back:
    Soso Matiashvili (Lelo Saracens, GEO)
    Lasha Khmaladze (RC Batumi, GEO)
    Giorgi Aotsiauri (Locomotive, GEO)
     
  7. Welshdragon2000

    Welshdragon2000 Senior Member

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    Sorry I should have made that a little clearer. I was impressed against Portugal. But in all the other games I was not so impressed (but then that’s probably because they only had their domestic players available).
    I’ve been thinking about my Georgia-Romania prediction and I went a bit wild on that. I think Georgia by 11
     
  8. amz

    amz Senior Member

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    Well, for USA and Uruguay it was mostly Romania A with youngsters and 2-3 experienced players. With all that, Uruguay won by 1 points and in last minutes Romania made 25 rucks forging a try.
     
  9. Welshdragon2000

    Welshdragon2000 Senior Member

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    What do you expect from your countrymen for the tournament?
     
  10. amz

    amz Senior Member

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    I don't know what to expect. I think if they will listen to Lynn Howells, we will be OK.
     
  11. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    Yes, good to see him back. It is to his credit he has returned in Romania's hour of need. He is one of my favourite guys in rugby and I sense real decency in him. All Romania need now is to bring back Superliga winning coach Grainger Heinkell. As national team coach!

    I'm glad Plai is getting another chance with Vlaicu as backup, Plai showed some promise in his starts despite his errors. Sensible also to keep Boldor away from such a fixture given his age.
     
  12. amz

    amz Senior Member

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  13. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    I genuinely think these three matches have more mystery and interest than the 6N this weekend. The closest quality rivals all facing off with the highest ranked away from home. I wonder if it is just blind luck it ended up that way. Streaming outside of NA at the link below.

    https://www.rugbyeurope.eu/welcome-rugby-europe-tv
     
  14. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    Romania 9 - 18 Georgia

    A little disappointing it wasn't a more high scoring contest on a nice large pitch. Haig should be very happy though, the scrum is back for Georgia even with a youthful pack beating a surprisingly experienced Romanian selection. A nicely taken try by the Georgian 8 to clinch the match and no tries conceded to a Romanian side with some attacking threat. The consolation for Romania is that they competed despite it being the first match for their stand-in coach. Some decent ball handling at times by both sides, just some poor decision making limited the scoring.
     
  15. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    Belgium 29-22 Germany

    Belgian improvement continues infront of what seems to have been another capacity crowd. Would have been a wider margin but for a knockout by Belgium when crossing for a try. Surprised to see the Belgian pack hold up well against Germany.

    To me it reiterates that Spains loss in Belgium last year was because they blew it against a determined side (rather than a corrupt ref).

    Throws the relegation playoff wide open. Romania, Spain and Germany are all potentially in the mix for that if they have a nightmare tournament.
     
  16. amz

    amz Senior Member

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    Actually was a match too easily lost by Romania. Lack of management and players considering themselves more than they are, meaning players. Frustrating locker room and lack of vision for the future, it was a meaningless match, sloppy selection and XV...like a computer which needs a restart that does not come. It is frustrating to see the same mistakes all over again.
     
  17. Welshdragon2000

    Welshdragon2000 Senior Member

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    Spain beat Russia 16-14. That’s a surprise given how much Russia improved lately and also how much Spain have changed in the past year. Russia fans seem to think that their team always plays poorly at this time of year though as it is well outside the Russian league schedule.
    Belgium’s performance against Germany was very good and it’s nice to see them improving. Their pack seems to be very strong as well and they were battering the big German pack about at times.
    Didn’t see the Georgia game but I’m not surprised to see them win. They have some excellent forwards coming through there. The front row apparently coped well against strong experienced Romanians and then there’s Beka Gorgadze at 8 who is an absolute beast of a player. Looking forward to watching this game back when I get time.
     
  18. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    I got 2 out of 3 results wrong this week, which speaks to how competitive some of the REC is. It is worth skipping to 4mins in these highlights for a bizarre finale.

     
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  19. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    The largest winning margin last week was 9 points, which underlines how some fixtures can be competitive. Predictions are made hard by clubs refusing to release players (in some instances), but I'll give it a crack despite my score last week being 1 out of 3! The fixtures do seem a lot more predictable this week, with the higher ranked side at home in each fixture.

    Russia vs Belgium - Belgiium improving, Russia coming out of winter hibernation. But.... Russia by 17

    Romania vs Germany - if Romania lose this then their doom and gloom is vindicated. Even with a temporary coach they should have too much ability here. Romania by 13

    Georgia vs Spain - the favourites back on home turf. I usually overestimate Spain as they dont seem to have major failings but this is a bridge too far. George by 15
     
  20. Welshdragon2000

    Welshdragon2000 Senior Member

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    Belgium playing with a weakened side as per away from home so Russia by 30.
    Spain will APPARENTLY play a weakened side in Georgia but then saying that their squad for the game seems pretty strong so I’ll go with Georgia by 18.
    The Germany Romania game is the one I’m most looking forward to. This game is in Germany I believe and memories of the game 2 years ago are doubtless still giving some of the Romanian players nightmares. Parkinson our for work commitments is a big loss but Schulte will be there at 10 so I will go with a tight game. Romania by 7. As a neutral, it would be nice to see Germany pull off an upset but then Romanian rugby really could do without anouther blow.
     
  21. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose Senior Member

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    Some surprisingly one sided results. 64-7 for Russia shows them hitting top gear and shaking off the rust from the winter. They should be a force for the rest of the tournament.

    38-10 for Romania is grim for Germany who look odds on for the relegation playoff given the other results of the past fortnight. Who are Germany going to pick up a win against? I only saw the super scrappy last 10mins though, so cant judge the standard that the game was played at.

    I stick with my initial predictions of Russia 2nd, Romania 3rd. If Russia hadn't bottled the victory against Spain last week I'd even have considered them reasonable challengers for the title.
     
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