Saturday, April 28, 2012

TEST RUGBY: European Nations Cup Division 2A

Lithuania v Latvia in Riga (ENC 2A)

Venue: Stadium Daugavas

Referee: C.Blessano (Italy)

This international test rugby match is the first of the ENC 2A double-header. Malta plays Croatia in the other match.

All teams are battling for the only position that matters in this competition-first place? Unlike the other division two levels this competition has only a first playoff against last in ENC 1B. Lithuania, Mal;ta and Sweden are the likely candidates.

Lithuania on the drive against Malta 30 October 2010.
Image thanks to

There was a time when Latvia could defeat their southern neighbour. Those days are long ago. But has Lithuania been able to continue its building international test rugby strength since those heady Rugby World Cup qualifying days?

Lithuania’s recent success in European rugby has come at a cost. A few top players have gained rugby contracts in England playing for local clubs. These players are not always available. It is costly to bring such players back to Lithuania. This situation has exposed Lithuania’s reserve of test players and its has been found wanting at times. It’s encouraging to see two foreign-based players making themselves available.

On form Lithuania should be two strong for their Latvian neighbours. But can they gain a vital bonus point?

Last Five Encounters
30.04.2011 Lithuania 57-3 in Kuanas (ENC 2A)
04.04.2009 Lithuania 55-12 in Carnikava (Baltic Trophy)
13.04.2008 Lithuania 43-17 in Klaipedia (Friendly)
30.04.2005 Latvia 19-12 in Riga (WCQ Europe R2, Pool C)
08.05.1999 Latvia 30-10 in Vilnius (FIRA A)

Lithuania Last Five
05.11.2011 v Malta L 10-14 in La Valette (ENC 2A)
22.10.2011 v Sweden D 30-30 in Kuanas (ENC 2A)
07.05.2011 v Croatia W 29-12 in Split (ENC 2A)
30.04.2011 v Latvia W 57-3 in Kuanas
06.11.2010 v Sweden L 22-26 in Trelleborg (ENC 2A)

Latvia Last Five
05.11.2011 v Croatia L 8-34 in Split (ENC 2A)
29.10.2011 v Malta L 0-28 in Riga (ENC 2A)
14.05.2011 v Sweden L 29-54 in Riga (ENC 2A)
30.04.2011 v Lithuania L 3-57 in Kuanas (ENC 2A)
06.11.2010 v Malta W 33-26 in La Valette (ENC 2A)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Lithuania 21st, Latvia 23rd

IRB Ranking Points
Lithuania 50.01, Latvia 40.72

Prediction: Lithuania by 19 points


Latvia Squad
Jānis Skuja (capt., “Miesnieki”), Edgars Cīrulis (“Miesnieki”), Āris Andersons (“Miesnieki”), Jānis Podiņš (“Eži/LMT”), Vjačeslavs Tiško (“Kalve”), Santis Podāns (“Kalve”), Aigars Muzikants (“Eži/LMT”), Uldis Saulīte (Jeņiseja, Russia), Raimonds Krūmiņš (“Eži/LMT”) Jurijs Baranovs (Jeņiseja, Russia), Ingus Aivars (“Eži/LMT”), Matīss Zalcmanis (“Kalve”), Gunārs Grīnvalds (“Eži/LMT”), Mihails Tumins (“Kalve”), Ruslans Kotļevs (“Eži/LMT”), Elmārs Imbrass (Kalve), Sandris Jauntēvs (“Kalve”), Māris Streikišs (“Eži/LMT”), Mareks Larionovs (“Eži/LMT”), Andrejs Borisovs (“Kalve”), Mikus Ozols (“Miesnieki”), Sergejs Avdejevs (“Kalve”), Kārlis Buševics (“Eži/LMT”), Daniels Bakirovs (“Kalve”).
Coach Vladimirs Ņikonovs. Assistant coach Juris Straume. Medic Uģis Kreitenbergs. Manager Māris Zeltiņš.


Lithuania Squad
Tomas Zibolis 1981 Šiauliai
Žygimantas Radžius 1990 Šiauliai
Mindaugas Misevičius 1982 Vairas
Rokas Daknys 1987 Vairas
Richardas Stankus 1988 Vairas
Tomas Astrauskas 1979 Šiauliai
Donatas Vilimavičius 1993 Vairas
Evaldas Gaubys 1991 Vairas
Mantas Maršantas 1993 BaltRex
Mantautas Vilimavičius 1992 Vairas
Kęstutis Marcišauskas 1985 Vairas
Marius Andrijauskas 1980 Peterborough Lions, England
Gediminas Marcišauskas 1982 Peterborough Lions, England
Andrius Martinskas 1982 Enköping RK, Sweden
Laurynas Tipelis 1981 BaltRex
Gediminas Liutkus 1982 Enköping RK, Sweden
Domantas Tautkus 1993 Panevėžio ryšių statyba
Mindaugas Grigas 1980 Vairas
Edmundas Ščiavinskas 1981 BaltRex
Justas Urbonas 1992 Vairas
Vytaras Bloškys 1991 BaltRex
Justas Vasiliauskas 1985 Vairas
Coach Irmantas Kukulskis

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