The Croatia rugby players beat Hungary (29-17) in the group and lost to Wales (5-50) and Denmark (14-19) before losing in the quarterfinals to the later champion Ireland 0-57. However, in the fifth to eighth place playoffs, they recorded two victories, reports Gol.hr.
Croatia won first against the hosts Hungary, this time 24-19, thanks to the pass of captain Nikola Pavlović in the extension of the dramatic match. Then, in the fight for fifth place, they defeated Sweden 26-21.
“I am pleased that after finishing tenth place in Zagreb, we made so much progress in a week. It’s great. When you put aside the big three, Ireland, England, and Wales, we are at the top. We have a young team led by a returnee Nik Jurišić, who is a player of superiority. I said that after Zagreb, defeats are not so terrible when you learn and progress. Here we made much fewer mistakes,” said coach Anthony Poša.
Ireland, England, Wales, and Romania have managed to enter a higher rank, and Croatia will play against other nations next season.
“Rugby 7 is very demanding, and the club level in Croatia is much lower than this. That’s why we have to work all year round because the three weeks we spend preparing for tournaments like this are not enough. Against Wales and Ireland, I rested some players. After that, our focus was to beat Hungary and Sweden,” Poša added.
In the final, as in Zagreb, Ireland beat England, this time, it was 35-14. Wales finished third.
The final standings of the tournament in Budapest: 1. Ireland, 2. England, 3. Wales, 4. Romania, 5. Croatia, 6. Sweden, 7. Hungary, 8. Luxembourg, 9. Israel, 10. Latvia, 11. Bulgaria, 12. Denmark.
Overall standings after both tournaments: 1. Ireland 40 points, 2. England 36, 3. Wales 32, 4. Romania 26, 5. Hungary 22, 6. Sweden 18, 7. Croatia 15, 8. Israel 14, 9. Luxembourg 12, 10. Denmark 5, 11. Latvia 5, 12. Bulgaria 3
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