By Alexander McCowan
THE President of the Cyprus Rugby Federation hailed the national side after the Moufflons extended their world record winning streak to 23 games with a 46-13 victory over Hungary in Pahos over the weekend.
Laurence Vasilliades said: “Once again we enter unknown territory. We are constantly on a voyage of rugby exploration. I am so proud of our Moufflons who have achieved so much in such a relatively short period.
“They give so much under the most difficult circumstances. This game marks the end of an era that I cannot let pass without conveying my deepest thanks to Paul Shanks, our retiring coach, who has done so much for Cyprus and to whom we owe a great debt of thanks.
“I would also like to thank our supporters who have marched through the turnstiles over the years and cheered us on to victory after victory.
“On Saturday, we saw a record crowd of 1,100 and for the first time, the attendance of the Director of the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) who was able to witness for himself the quality of our team and the wonderful spirit and discipline that prevails at a rugby match.”
The Cypriots have been promoted from European Division 2C into Division 2B, which contains two Baltic states, Lithuania and Latvia, Andorra and either Hungary or Denmark who will go into a play-off.
The new opposition will more accurately test the Cypriots but the word coming out of Europe is ‘beware the Moufflons’.
Outgoing coach Shanks, in an emotional moment, declared: “After a lifetime in the game I can truly state that being involved with Cyprus and associated with this great group of young players has been a highlight and one of my proudest moments. I shall be keeping a keen eye over their progress in the future.”