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Rugby Europe Wrap: Romania snatch title from Georgia

Romania pulled off a surprise win over Georgia in Bucharest on Sunday, in the process after some confusion lifting the 2017 Rugby Europe Championship title.

Romania’s win means they lifted the Antim Ivireanu Trophy, contested between the two sides, for the first time in seven years.

But despite Georgia initially being announced as the tournament winners, the trophy in fact goes to Romania because of the head-to-head record between the two sides in the tournament.

As a result Romania end Georgia’s six-year run as champions.

Veteran back Catalin Fercu gave Romania the perfect start with a try in the third minute, after good work from Florin Surugiu, to give the Oaks a 5-0 lead.

This was not a day for normally reliable kickers Florin Vlaicu and Merab Kvirikashvili, with Vlaicu missing two attempts and Kvirikashvili one.

But a 37th-minute try swung the lead the way of the visitors, Merba Sharikadze going over with Kvirikashvili converting to make the score 7-5 to the Lelos at half-time.

Vlaicu found his radar in the 51st minute to put Romania back infront, landing an important penalty, setting up a nervous finish with Kvirikashvili missing two chances to put Georgia back into the lead, as Romania clung on to win 8-7.

Despite Romania’s win moving them level onto 19 points with Georgia, it was Milton Haig’s side who celebrated lifting the title for a seventh straight year due to having the better points difference.

Elsewhere in the final round of the tournament Spain cruised past Belgium with a 30-0 victory in Madrid.

Brad Linklater got the scoring underway with an early penalty before Ignacio Villanueva crossed in the tenth minute for Spain’s first try, converted by Linklater for a 10-0 lead.

Outside centre Fabien Perrin was the next man over for Spain, Linklater converting again, and by the time Linklater added a penalty in the 26th minute Spain were well and truly out of sight, ahead 20-0.

However the second half posed plenty of problems for Spain, after tighthead prop Jesús Moreno was red carded for a dangerous tackle, before Perrin followed him with a yellow card a minute later, reducing Spain to 13.

Belgium were unable to get on the scoreboard during that period, with Ilaitia Henare Kalo Kalo Gavidi the next to score for Spain.

And Linklater’s penalty in the 67th minute put a seal on the contest, making it 30-0 as Spain rounded off the tournament in style by finishing in third place.

Finally the game between Russia and Germany on Sunday saw Russia win comfortably, by a score of 52-25 having only led 12-7 at half-time.

Tries from Ramil Gaisin and Denis Simplikevich meant Russia went in ahead at the break, cancelling out Raynor Parkinson’s effort.

But the second half was all Russia, as Dmitry Gerasimov grabbed a brace along with scores from Evgeny Elgin, Vasily Artemyev and Dmitry Krotov.

Russia finish the tournament in fourth while Germany, after plenty of promise with that win at the start of the tournament over Romania, finish in 5th.

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