Spain and Romania play for bronze too
What a weekend we have ahead of us, with the culmination of the Guinness Six Nations and Rugby Europe Championship final providing two days of intense match-ups across the continent.
Read more: Six Nations Ireland v England preview
The basics: the last four match-ups will be played on the same day, with Poland v Belgium in the seventh place play-off, and Netherlands v Germany in the fifth place play-off meeting in Amsterdam.
While Spain take on Romania in the bronze final and Portugal face Georgia to win the Championship itself in Badajoz.
After taking in Six Nations Super Saturday, rugby fans can strip in for another bumper day of action on Sunday from 11.30am GMT/UTC, with the final game not kicking off until 7pm. Get ready for a full-on day filled with emotion, great games, and star players.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the final round of games in the Rugby Europe Championship.
Rugby Europe Championship final: a new champion or the Lelos’ reign continues?
Since 2011, Georgia have won every Rugby Europe Championship except one (won by Romania in 2017) and have built a reputation as an unstoppable and powerful team, that are now way more than a set-piece and forward-dominated side with the backline stealing some of the limelight in recent years.
With wonderkid Davit Niniashvili running the show from full-back, the impressive and dynamic scrum-half duo of Gela Aprasidze and Vasil Lobzhanidze pulling the strings, Georgia seem to be well on the way to earning their 15th title.
But the Lelos have to be wary of Portugal’s lethal and magical backline, as Rodrigo Marta, Vincent Pinto, Tomás Appleton, and Jerónimo Portela are ready to run wild out wide.
The Portuguese have upped their game in the pack too, and the Championship gold match will be a vital step in their World Cup preparation.
Spain v Romania: settling the score
In the last two seasons, Spain and Romania have been locked in a tight battle, which ended in a win for each side, and the bronze match will be the perfect time to see who has the upper hand.
The Leones are in the middle of a transition period, having been disqualified from the World Cup for fielding an ineligible player, and have propelled some of their youngsters into the spotlight, with the likes of Gonzalo Vinuesa, Alberto Carmona, Lucas Santamaría, or Ike Irusta taking centre stage.
The 2023 season hasn’t been the best one, but there’s a clear indication of a positive future on the horizon.
As for Romania, Andy Robinson’s departure forced Eugen Apjok to take on the role of national head coach, and we have seen some interesting new updates in the way they play: quicker, more daring, and riskier.
The Oaks will miss unavailable duo Hinckley Vaovasa and Taylor Gontineac but in Atila Septar and Cristi Chirica have two players that will be pivotal for Romania on Sunday.
Best of the rest
In Amsterdam, Netherlands and Germany will play for the right to finish fifth , while Poland and Belgium will wrestle to escape finishing in last place. Netherlands have clearly started to climb the ladder, and have their sights set on a third win in a row, which would be a first in the Rugby Europe Championship for the Dutch.
Germany pulled off a good 23-18 win away in Poland two weeks ago, thanks to the combined efforts of Edoardo Stella and Leo Wolf among others, but to defeat Netherlands they must raise their level in the set-piece.
Poland lost the chance to play for fifth after being going down to Germany at home, but Chris Hitt’s men have the skills to finish strongly and clinch their second win of the tournament.
As for Belgium, this is their last chance to come up with a win, with the new coaching team of Mike Ford and Mouritz Botha looking to wrap up their first Championship on a high
How to watch the Rugby Europe Championship
For viewers in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, or Australia, you can catch all the action on Rugby Europe TV (totally free), so be sure to tune in on Sunday to catch the final moments of the Rugby Europe Championship 2023.
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