Russia 28, Spain 24 in Madrid (ENC 1A)
Portugal 24, Romania 17 in Lisbon (ENC 1A)
Georgia 62, Ukraine 3 in Odessa (ENC 1A)
Portugal caused the major upset of the day defeating Romania in Lisbon. The Romanians were below strength and Portugal took full advantage. I suspect the Romanians wont be panicking because at full strength they can defeat any of the other teams. The worry is that at the 2011 Rugby World Cup you are only as good as your second team.
Spain very nearly followed Portugal’s example. The Russians were nearly at full strength and Spain’s new look side gave them a fright in Madrid. The Spanish experiment of using mostly France-based players looks to have given the team extra skill and resolve. My conclusion is Russia will struggle to hold other teams in their pool at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The big worry of the day is the Ukraine. They were hopelessly outclassed by a Georgian team not up to full strength but good enough on the day. On this display its difficult to see Ukraine winning any games in the next two seasons.
The Next Round
Spain v Georgia in Tblissi (ENC 1A)
Portugal v Russia in Sotchi (ENC 1A)
Romania v Ukraine in Odessa (ENC 1A)