By Alexander McCowan
The Cyprus rugby team saw their world record winning streak of 24 games ended by Latvia over the weekend, the Moufflons going down 39-20 in freezing Riga.
“We knew that we had to lose at some point, we just couldn’t go on winning, but I am extremely proud of our boys,” said Laurence Vasiliades, president of the Cyprus Rugby Federation after the clash.
“They have achieved so much – who would have thought we would find ourselves in this position when we were first formed seven years ago?
“We didn’t even have proper shirts for our first international against Greece. Now we are on the world rugby map – they write about us in New Zealand and South Africa. The world record was never a target for us, but it is a bonus.
“Our next game is in March against Hungary and we must build for this. The future lies in our school programmes and our academies which I am proud to say are expanding on a weekly basis. Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol all have qualified coaches that give up their time every Saturday morning to train up the next generation of Moufflons.”
As a result of the defeat, Cyprus find themselves in third place in European Division 2B behind Lithuania and Latvia and above Hungary and Andorra.
Marcus Holden, a veteran player for Cyprus, and a try scorer on Saturday, said: “We need to build for the future. Commitment to training is essential, more now than ever. Let’s improve together and bounce back – we owe it to ourselves, the players from before, the players yet to come and for the future of Cyprus rugby.”
Theo Lenos, the Rugby Federation vice-president, added: “I want you to record that we all knew that this day would happen, but we have the coach, the staff, and most of all, the talent and the will to improve further in the future.”