Portugal have climbed above Germany in the World Rugby Rankings and moved into 27th place following a record 65-5 win over Poland in Setubal on Saturday.
Captain and openside Salvador Vassalo and right-wing Rodrigo Marta each scored a brace of tries apiece, while World Rugby U20 Trophy graduate, Jorge Abecassis, kicked 25 points.
Four Abecassis penalties eased Portugal into a 12-0 lead before the first of eight tries was scored by second-row Joao Granate on 28 minutes. He was followed over the whitewash by scrum-half Joao Belo as Os Lobos took a commanding 27-0 advantage into half-time.
Granate and two Polish players were sent to the sin-bin in a fractious start to the second half and the home side stretched further in front when Vassalo crossed for the first of his two tries. Full-back Manuel Marta added another before Poland got on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute through replacement Dawit Plichta.
Marta’s brace and tries from fellow winger Antonio Cortes and Vassalo sealed an emphatic victory that was worth a third of a rating point to Portugal.
Having more than doubled their previous best winning margin against Poland in their first run out of the season, Portugal have served notice of their intent to successfully defend the Rugby Europe Trophy title and compete in the annual promotion play-off.
As things stand, Germany appear to be favourites to provide the opposition as the side that finishes bottom of the Rugby Europe Championship. Saturday’s 38-10 defeat to Romania leaves them as the only side not to have won a game in the first two rounds of Europe's second-tier tournament.
Romania, who lost at home to Georgia on the opening weekend, scored five tries – all by the backs, while Germany could only manage a late consolation through replacement front-rower, Julias Nostadt.
The victory did not come with any ranking reward because of the large points differential between the sides before kick-off, which enabled Russia, convincing winners over Belgium, to close the gap on them in the rankings.
A fraction over half a point now separates the sides in 18th and 19th after the Bears took out the frustration of their opening weekend defeat to Spain on the Black Devils.
Sevens heaven for Russia
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series star German Davydov and centre Dimitri Gerasimov crossed twice in a 64-7 win that was worth 0.21 of a rating point. An ill-disciplined end to the match was the only downside for Russia who had replacement hooker Evgenii Matveev dismissed for a second yellow and Vladimir Ostroushko sin-binned late on.
Defending champions Georgia made it two wins from two against Spain in the most competitive fixture in the second round of the Rugby Europe Championship.
The higher-ranked Lelos found Spain tough to put away and only secured the bonus point with 10 minutes left to play despite playing against 13 men for a five-minute period during the second half.
Forwards Dawit Gigauri and Levan Chilachava scored tries either side of an effort from Spain hooker Stephen Barnes as Georgia took a slender 12-5 lead into half-time.
But when Barnes was sent to the sin bin in the 52nd minute and winger Julen Guia joined him there five minutes later, it looked ominous for Spain. However, they stuck to their task and only conceded twice more.
Vasil Lobzhanidze crossed for Georgia’s third try before half-back partner Tedo Abzhandadze scored the all-important fourth on 70 minutes. Spain had the final say, though, Oier Goia claiming his maiden international try in stoppage time.
Photo: Federation Portugal Rugby