Rugby : Cyprus Steps closer to FIRA promotion

moufflonsThis weekend saw Cyprus move closer to their aim of promotion to FIRA ENC Division 3C after beating Monaco by 44 points to 5.  They travelled to the town of Menton, just east of Monaco and played high in the hills overlooking the picturesque French coastal town.

The match kicked off following a rousing rendition of the National Anthem and despite a nervous start with missed passes and knock-ons, Cyprus soon got into their stride pushing deep into the Monaco half forcing the Monaco players to concede a penalty after 3 minutes.  Unfortunately, George Agathokleous missed the kick but minutes later, a break by Luke Peters in the midfield with quick movement of the ball out wide allowed Marcus Holden to go over and score a try, converted by Agathokleous. Minutes later, quick ball from the lineout and another break from the hard-running Peters, produced the space to put George Agathokleous in under the posts, the goal was scored following a successful conversion.  Another score followed quickly after a charge by Dan Thrasivoulou to ensure that the ball was again fed to George Agathokleous but this time he was unsuccessful with the boot.  Following another failed kick, Marcus Holden took over kicking duties and struck two long range penalties late in the first half leaving a 0-25 lead to Cyprus.

Following the break, it was only 6 minutes until Dino Markou got on the scoresheet with a 40m sprint to the line to score under the posts, converted by Holden.  This score had a negative effect on the Cyprus performance, taking their foot off the gas, allowing Monaco back into the game.  Indeed, the Monaco side made a break down the blindside from a scrum on the Cypriot 22 releasing a player who scored a try, which went unconverted.  Coach Paul Shanks ringed the changes, with new caps Burhan Turgot, George Stylianou and Kyriakos Vatikiotis making their first appearance in Cypriot colours.  With the remaining substititions made, it only took 2 minutes for Andreas Zacharia to come off the bench and get on the score sheet and another 2 minutes to get another try, with Holden only getting one conversion.

Minutes later the final whistle blew; an outstanding performance by all 22 players.  Whilst the scoresheet reflected the scoring capability of the backs, it was the hard work of the forwards that allowed them the space and time to do so.  Cyprus now have 2 games remaining in this season’s campaign.  Cyprus will host Azerbaijan on 6 March 2010 and Bosnia on 27 March 2010; both matches will take place at the Pafiakos Stadium in Pafos.

Here is the squad from the weekend.

1. Stephan Eleftheriou
2. Tony Thoma (Capt)
3. Christo Kasabi
4. Andy Spring
5. Lawrence Macrides
6. AJ Pugh
7. Marco Mladenovic
8. Chris Thoma
9. Dimitri Maratheftis
10. Dan Thrasivoulou
11. Fidias Efthymiou
12. Luke Peters
13. George Agathokleous
14. Dino Markou
15. Marcus Holden

16. Kyriacos Vatikiotis
17. Vladlimiri Muhaylon
18. George Stylianou
19. Dan McFarlane
20. Burhan Torgut
21. Colm O’Clerigh
22. Dino Markou