For 79 minutes, Portugal were debating beating Georgia, the twelfth best selection in the rugby world rankings and sixth European, just behind England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and France, but the Georgian striker’s usual power made the difference. The Portuguese team made good signs on their debut at the 2021 European Rugby Championship, a competition that will qualify for the 2023 World Cup, but were defeated 16:29.
Up front was Georgia that practically dominated the main competition organized by Rugby Europe – Georgians haven’t won the competition just once in the last decade – but Portugal made it through most of the game, a team that claimed to be facing huge problems to prepare Italy’s place in the six nations tournament.
But even with reinforced players in the front row who are used to competing in the European rugby elite – Geoffrey Noise and Mike Tadjer Barbosa, who have long minutes in the top 14, the most important French season – Portugal could have the antidote for what not to find It was already known to be the great Georgian weapon: the dynamic mouth.
Very tactically and aggressively in ball disputes, the Portuguese managed to almost always win the duels with the Georgians in the first half, but after Samuel Marques (another player from the top 14 who returned to the team and gave quality to the Portuguese game ) Georgia converted two penalties and scored two rehearsals in 10 minutes, always through a “closed” game of its strikers.
During the break, however, Marques quickly played a foul and gave Rodrigo Marta the necessary space in the opposing defense to make the first Portuguese test and to put the wolves in front of the marker during the break: 13-10.
The last 40 minutes started with more penalties from Samuel Marques and six points ahead of the national “XV” (16-10), but gradually Portugal lost their tactical balance and Georgia took the opportunity to change the result again and again the same way: forming a mouth after an alignment that stopped only after the test line.
Even without the ascendant they managed in the first half, the six disadvantages (16-22) kept the Portuguese team in the discussion of the victory until the last minute, but Georgia reached the fifth rehearsal at the “cue ball” and removed it from the Portugal the opportunity to add the offensive bonus point (loss of less than eight points).
In the other game of the first round of the 2021 championship this Saturday, Russia scored an important win against Romania (18-13) in Sochi – the Romanians will play against Portugal in Jamor next Saturday – a result that confirms the battle for a place in the year In 2023 the World Cup will be very even.
With Georgia as the clear favorite for first place – the sum of the competitions in 2021 and 2022 will serve as the qualification phase for the World Cup – the battle for 2nd place (direct qualification) and 3rd place (review) promises this Be close to the Portuguese, Russians, Romanians and Spaniards.