For 64 minutes, Portugal played club by club with the powerful Georgia, the sixth European country with the best ranking in World Rugby, but, unsurprisingly, it was the Georgians who secured this Sunday, in Badajoz, the conquest of the Rugby Europe Championsip (REC) 2023. In the final of the competition, the Portuguese rugby team reached the break The lose by one pointbut with three trials in the last 16 minutes, Georgia secured the victory, by 38-11, adding the 29th consecutive victory in the competition.
Against a rival that is ahead of Italy and Fiji at the ranking world, and who will be Portugal’s opponents in September at the 2023 World Cup, the “wolves” were deprived of players of enormous influence, such as Sousa Guedes, Rodrigo Marta, Storti, Samuel Marques, Anthony Alves or Rafael Simões. These absences weakened the Portuguese bench and dictated Portugal’s break in the last 16 minutes, a period in which it suffered 21 points.
As long as there were legs, strength and quality, the national team was not inferior to a rival that in the last two years has beaten Italy and Wales and, at 6′, Cardoso Pinto offered Tomás Appleton his first try in Badajoz.
Without gaining clear supremacy in the static phases, Georgia felt difficulties, but, the first time they created an attack platform in the Portuguese 22 meters, the Georgians were patient, created several phases and reached the rehearsal at the tip.
At 25′, using the main weapon (pack forward), the Georgians scored again, but before the break, two penalties from Simão Bento put the national deficit at just one point (12-11).
Even suffering a rehearsal right at the start of the second half (17-11), Portugal still showed arguments to put itself back in front until the hour of the game. However, with the beginning of the substitutions, the Portuguese “XV” broke clearly and, with ease, Georgia scored three tries in the last 16 minutes, setting the final difference at 27 points, a margin that was too penalizing for the “wolves”.
With its participation in the REC 2023 concluded, Portugal will hold two test matches in June in preparation for the World Cup, a competition where it will play its premieres September 16, in Nice, against Wales. The Welsh concluded their participation in the Six Nations Tournament on Saturday, adding another defeat: 41-28 at the Stade de France, against France.
In a tournament where Ireland won the Grand Slam – triumph in all games -, the British team was penultimate, achieving just beat Italy. In addition to Wales, Portugal will face Georgia (September 23, in Toulouse), Australia (October 1, in Saint-Étienne) and Fiji (October 8, in Toulouse) at the 2023 World Cup.