Rugby: Tough weekend for the women’s national team in the Czech Republic

Monday, June 19, 2017, 9:58

Last weekend, the women’s national rugby team was in Ostrava, Czech Republic, representing Malta in the Rugby Europe Women’s 7s Trophy, having been promoted last year as runners-up of the Women’s 7s Conference after a memorable weekend where the team won all but one of their six scheduled games.

This year the Maltese team will have to compete twice against opponents of a good caliber, such as Scotland, Finland and Germany. Ostrava is the first leg of the tournament, the second one being in Hungary late in July.

The main purpose this year is to remain in this division. The squad is made up of experienced as well as young players, where Marion Azzopardi, Amanda Cassar and Beverie Sultana donned the national kit for the 11th year. On the other hand, it was the first capped experienced for Jacqueline Richard, whose athletic capabilities were ideal for her position as winger.

Malta faced Finland (22-0), Hungary (28-7) and Switzerland (41-5) in Pool A of the Trophy on Saturday gathering three losses. The Maltese tries were scored by Richard, with Amanda Cassar converting one. The Sunday games saw the team facing Latvia first, with a possibility of going through to contend the Challenge Trophy.

The game was tied at 15 all at the end of the regular 14 minutes, with two tries by A. Cassar and one by captain Sultana. A tied result meant an extra 5 minutes on the clock, with the game being won by the golden point. The girls held high, giving their all but in the end, it was Latvia who found the opportunity to score the golden try needed to win the game. This meant Malta was in to fight for 11th place with Israel. The team’s final game was a one sided affair with Israel scoring seven tries, converting two, ending the game at Israel 39 – 0 Malta. Malta placed 12th in this division.

Attention now turns towards the second leg of the tournament, held on the weekend of the 22nd – 23rd July in Esztergom, Hungary. Development camps will restart in the coming week with the coaches working around the clock to strengthen and improve the team.

The Maltese squad: Marion Azzopardi, Rodianne Bugeja, Claire Casha, Amanda Cassar, Sairita Cassar, Wendy Pace, Jacqueline Richard, Kimberley Riolo, Donevellon Sladden, Maria Spiteri, Beverie Sultana (captain), Tessabelle Sultana


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