Round Three of the 2017 Rugby Europe Championship produced victories for Germany, Georgia and Romania.
And it was Germany’s win over Belgium which caught the eye as they continue to push for qualification ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
This and next year’s Rugby Europe Championships act as qualifiers for the tournament, with Georgia having already secured their place after finishing in third place in their group at the last Rugby World Cup.
Saturday’s win took Germany up to third, two points behind second-placed Romania, who they defeated earlier this year.
Germany started well thanks to tries from Jacobus Otto and Jarrid Els, with captain Sean Armstrong’s score before half-time suggesting a comfortable win was on the cards.
Belgium to their credit fought back in the second half, with tries from Alan Williams and James Pearce, with the boot of fly-half Williams setting up a tense finish at 27-21.
Jamie Murphy’s try however put the result beyond doubt, as Belgium hit back late on through Elvin Muric but fell to a 34-29 defeat in Offenbach.
Meanwhile leaders Georgia came through their match with Spain in Medina del Campo with a 20-10 win, outscoring their hosts by two tries to one.
The two full-backs, Spain’s Brad Linklater and Georgia’s Merab Kvirikashvili, traded early penalties before Spain went in ahead at the break thanks to a try from Kalokalo Gavidi, leading 10-3.
Georgia went level ten minutes into the second half through a Giorgi Tkhilaishvili try, converted by Kvirikashvili, and they took the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute thanks to a try from Zviad Matiashvili, with a late Kvirikashvili penalty making it 20-10.
And finally Romania comfortably saw off Russia in a 30-10 win by scoring four tries, with two scores coming in the last 11 minutes.
Scores from Ionel Badiu and Madalin Lemnaru got the visitors off to the perfect start in Sochi, leading 14-3 at half-time.
Penalties from Valentin Calafeteanu then stretched the score to 20-3, before Valentin Poparlan and Jody Rose put the seal on a big win.
Photo credit: World Rugby