Cyprus Mail

Cyprus Moufflons face relegation as Croatia score last minute

The Cyprus national rugby side (Photo: Stephen Nicolaou)

THE Moufflons came within a whisker of retaining their place in Division 2 of the European Conference when in the dying minutes of the game, and with four men down through exhaustion and injury, the visitors facing a defeat by 27-22, scored a converted try and left the field at Paphos winners by 27-29.

A heartbreaking result for the home side that had seemed so comfortable in the first half, leaving the field at half-time 20-3 up. The home crowd – about 800 strong – were convinced that a victory would follow and the huge Croatian side would fall to the more mobile Cypriots, but it was not to be.

It became evident that while the Moufflons continued to stay ahead, the visitors were dominating the set pieces and the home side was weakening. This followed a similar pattern witnessed in the Andorran game when the Cypriots managed to lose by one point in the fading minutes because they couldn’t control the scrums and lines. Some spectators speculated that the Cypriots are just not big enough for international rugby.

However, given the enormous difficulties, that always confronts the Moufflon management – player availability – this was an heroic endeavour. When will the Cyprus Sports Organisation finally reward the tremendous efforts made by the Moufflons over the last six years and give them the financial support that they heap upon their football teams?

The Moufflons will now play in Conference Division South 2 that contains Turkey, Austria, Serbia and Bosnia.

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