Ukraine v Lithuania in Šiauliai (WCQ Europe R4 Final)
Venue: Šiauliai miesto centrinis stadionas
Referee: Cyril Lafon (France)
Poster image thanks to http://www.kaunas.lt/regbis/
This is THE big match ever for Lithuania. This Baltic rugby nation, with only a handful of clubs and with even fewer foreign-based players to call upon, will face the might of the Ukraine in a winner takes all World Cup qualifying Europe Round 4 final. The winner of this game will go on to face Romania on the 22 May in the first leg Round 5 two-leg elimination series.
Lithuania broke the world record for the most consecutive winning test matches on the 24 April when they defeated Serbia 77-5 in a European Nations Cup Division 3A test match. They broke the record of 17 held jointly by the might All Blacks and South Africa. Illustrious company indeed.
Last year they broke Israeli and Dutch hearts as they powered their way to get to this stage in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers. Today they come up against a much more formidable foe.
The Ukraine has got to this stage by winning the European Nations Cup Division 2A. This is some three divisions ABOVE Lithuania although the Baltic nation has already gained promotion to ENC 2B for the 2010-12 competition.
The Ukraine though has not produced good form of late. They have dropped their last three games, two in the competition and one against Georgia 'A' back in November. It was a close thing as the other 2A teams rushed up to the Ukraine in this later part of the season. Winning 2A also means promotion to a newly structured ENC 1st Division for 2010-12. It appears they will be without Jaba Malaguradze, Vadym Mysyk and Russian-based Vitay Orlov according to http://www.kaunas.lt/regbis/
But the fact is the Ukraine has lost recent matches and will face a fired up Lithuania in Lithuania. It should be a cracker!
This and other test matches reviewed at http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/qualifying/news/newsid=2037210.html#key+matches+race+qualify+rwc+2011
An article about that record http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/qualifying/news/newsid=2037051.html#lithuania+rugby+world+record
No word yet about the makeup of the Lithuanian squad.
10.08.1995 Ukraine 27-8 in Šiauliai (FIRA B3)
GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Ukraine 15th, Lithuania 18th
Prediction: Lithuania by 3 points in a result that will stun the rugby world. It won't be Lithua..who? any more!
Evigney Chaika (RC Kredo 63)
Vitaly Dotsenko (RC Aviator)
Sergei Garkavy (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Vasyl Glushchenko (Battai Bulldogok, Hungary)
Vladyslav Grabovsky (RK Sokol)
Nikolai Kirsanov (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Oleg Kosarev (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Vyacheslav Krasylnyk (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Maksym Kravchenko (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Oleksandr Lomakin (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Oleg Lytvynenko (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Jaba Malaguradze (RC Kredo 63)
Pavlo Masyukov (RCKredo-63)
Serge Monastir (RC Kredo 63)
Dmytro Mukhin (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Vyacheslav Ponomarkenko (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Serhiy Sukhykh (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Oleksandr Tsapenko (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Serhiy Tserkovny (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Eduard Vertiletsky (RC Kredo 63)
Bogdan Voloshin (RK Sokol)
Sergei Yanchiy (RC Olymp-RSC KhTZ)
Ievgen Zapolsky (RK Sokol)
HeadCoach: Valeri Kochanov
Lithuania squad not yet known.