Germany stay alive in race to RWC 2015
Germany remain in the hunt for a place at Rugby World Cup 2015 after beating Sweden 45-20 in Enkoping to clinch the European Nations Cup Division 1B title and earn a play-off with the Netherlands next month.
They had gone into the final round of Division 1B matches level on points with Moldova and in the knowledge that if they matched or bettered their rival’s result against the Czech Republic then they would be crowned champions.
Moldova suffered a surprise 37-19 loss to the Czech Republic in Prague – the win not enough to prevent the Czechs from dropping down to Division 2A – and so Germany were guaranteed the title regardless of their result in Sweden.
The first half at the Korsängens Rugbyarena was a close battle with Germany edging 12-0 ahead with tries from number 8 Timo Vollenkemper and scrum half Sean Armstrong, only for Sweden to cut the deficit to five points at the break after full back Ian Gowland’s try.
Sweden edged ahead in the 15 minutes after half-time with wing Tim Johansson converting his own try and then kicking a penalty. Within minutes though Germany had retaken the lead through replacement Justin Melck’s try and then fallen behind again to another Johansson penalty.
That penalty – which made it 20-19 to Sweden – would be the final points for Sweden as Germany never looked back after wing Marten Strauch touched down on the hour mark to secure his side the bonus point.
Three more tries followed in the final 10 minutes through replacements Samy Füchsel and Johannes Läpple and centre Steffen Liebig, all of them converted by fly half Raynor Parkinson, to ensure the German celebrations could begin.
Germany can now look forward not only to the play-off with the Netherlands on 10 May but also the prospect of playing Georgia, Romania, Russia, Portugal and Spain in the elite tier of the European Nations Cup over the next two seasons.
If they safely negotiate the Netherlands play-off then they will face Russia a fortnight later for the right to represent Europe in the Repechage to determine the 20th and final qualifier for England 2015.
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