Portugal trembled but knew how to suffer and ended up smiling


Huuf! It was with a great sigh of relief and a lot of joy that, at the end of this Saturday afternoon’s match at the Estádio Universitário de Lisboa, players, technical team and fans gathered in the center of the pitch to celebrate Portugal’s victorious return to Rugby Europe Championship after four years of absence, turning the gray and rainy afternoon in the capital into a rugby day full of sun and heat. What a victory can do to meteorology …

It is that if at the interval the Wolves, in Patrice Lasgisquet’s home debut in the technical command of the selection, won by comfortable and fair 14-0, a start of 2nd half little less than clumsy by the young fifteen national allowed the “Diables Noirs “match the score after the game. And it was at the expense of remarkable attitude and great team spirit, and when things looked like they would turn in favor of a Belgian team with a powerful forward but predictable and with a “game of 10” model that is no longer used at this competitive level, Tomás Appleton and his companions went to find the little energy that was left in an already very empty warehouse and pushing the opponent into their midfield ended up solving the match with two penalties of the irreproachable Danny Antunes, the “man of the game” , and that only wasted one of the six kicks to the posts he tried, obtaining a total of 13 points.

After three seasons playing in the European Trophy (3rd level of European rugby), in which they won 15 victories in so many other games, the Portuguese players now felt in their bodies what it is like to face fifteen in a higher level. And due to the exposed sample, the four days that will come will not be sweet pears, they will not, starting next Saturday against Romania in Caldas da Rainha.

Aligning with four players who play in French clubs, one in Spain and another in England, Portugal started the game well, but the national performance in the alignments was so poor – the rain did not help but the bad connection between the pitcher Campergue, of I return five years later to the national team, and the jumpers – that the Wolves had no balls to attack in conditions, when it was known that our quick and imaginative three-quarters, with space and ball, could make misery and the difference between the two teams . What helped the national team was that this Belgium – which only opened the ball twice to the back lines in the five rounds of the 2019 Champioship! – it is a “fifteen in a single move” (touche-maul-nova touche-another maul- until-see-where-this-is-going) and also in combat on the ground he was apathetic and nerve-free, allowing ball recoveries in catadupa.

Until at 14 “in a quick Portuguese attack by the three-quarters, the oval reached the center António Vidinha (good game!) That he simulated and in an inside pass delivered to defender Manuel Cardoso Pinto for the inaugural rehearsal before a Belgian defense to see play.


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