Malta v Lithuania in Siauliai (ENC 2A)
Venue: Centriniame Miesto stadione
Referee: L.Janssens (Belgium)
Lithuania reached the giddy heights of qualifying fo the playoff round of the Rugby World Cup European qualifiers. They defeated Netherlands 6-3 before losing to the Ukraine. In doing so they achieved a new world rugby international record. They reached eighteen test wins in a row, passing the record of seventeen, jointly held by New Zealand and South Africa.
Their rugby is based on only a handful of clubs. To achieve what they did was amazing. At the end of the 2009-10 season Lithuania was promoted to the next level of European international rugby.Can they maintain that form in the new level of test rugby they find themselves in?
Malta finished in the middle of the points table for the old ENC 2B, with 4 wins and 4 losses. Interestingly they lost twice to the Netherlands, the team Lithuania defeated late last season. Malta won two test matches away last season so they can win away from home. Malta defeated Latvia twice last season, a team that neighbours Lithuania easily defeated in two unofficial international rugby matches last season.
Malta will be without three key players, two out injured, Mike Bonavia and Matthew Mirabelli, whilst Oliver Sacco is unavailable. New players to the team include Mark Davey, Daniel Holloday, Lloyd Holiday, Andrew Dixon, Sam Borg and Jurgen Pavanello.
23.11.2002 Malta 22-18 in Marsa (ENC 3B)
21.04.2001 Lithuania 39-11 in Marsa (WCQ Europe R1; FIRA Pool 1)
GWC Rugby Rankings
Lithuania 18th, Malta 22nd
IRB Ranking Points
Lithuania 50.41, Malta 46.44
Prediction: Lithuania by 3 points.
Tomas Astrauskas (RK Šiauliai) Age 30, 20 tests
Tomas Bieliauskas (Ąžuolas, Kaunas) *
Vytaras Bloškys (BaltRex, Šiauliai) *
Ignas Darkintis (Thanet Wanderers, England) 21, 11
Mindaugas Grigas (Vairas, Šiauliai) 29, 20
Mantas Kazlauskas (Vairas, Šiauliai) 29, 15
Vilius Kucinas (Vairas, Šiauliai) 24, 19
Gediminas Liutkus (BaltRex, Šiauliai) 27, 30
Kęstutis Marcišauskas (Vairas, Šiauliai) 24, 29
Mindaugas Misevičius, Capt. (Vairas, Šiauliai) 27, 36
Darius Nosys (Vairas, Šiauliai) 40, 29
Egidijus Petronis (Ąžuolas, Kaunas) 36, 14
Artūras Rachimovas (Vairas, Šiauliai) *
Audrius Ramančionis (Vairas, Šiauliai) 36, 21
Edmundas Ščiavinskas (BaltRex, Šiauliai) 29, 32
Richardas Stankus (Vairas, Šiauliai) 21, 5
Evaldas Štitilis (Vairas, Šiauliai) 27, 4
Andrius Sutkus (BaltRex, Šiauliai) *
Gediminas Švoba (BaltRex, Šiauliai) 23, 13
Augustinas Terleckas (Vilnaus Regbio Akademija) *
Laurynas Tipelis (BaltRex, Šiauliai) 28, 36
Marius Vaikėnas (BaltRex, Šiauliai)
Tomas Zibolis (BaltRex, Šiauliai) 28, 21
Edvardas Žilius (Vairas, Šiauliai) 30, 11
* New caps as far as I’m aware.
Out injured, all except Martinkas, with English clubs, Gediminas Marcišauskas, Max Guseinov, Marius Andrijauskas, Aleksandras Čiuchlėjus and Andrius Martinskas (Enkopings RK, Sweden)
Thanks to 'Quentin' and 'Ignas Rugby.lt', from http://www.fira-aer-rugby.com/forum2007/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3596&p=34294#p34294
Full squad not available