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Portugal held on for a narrow away win 25-22 against upstart Poland to clinch the Rugby Europe Trophy, the third-tier European event. The victory qualifies Portugal for a two-match, home and away contest with Germany, where the winner will play in the second tier European Championship. (NB: Germany competed this year and finished last. If Portugal win, they advance to the higher division.)
The match, played at Stadion Miejsky, Lodz, pitted Portugal, the 23rd World Rugby ranked side, against Poland ranked 36. The nickname for the Poles is the White and Red.
Portugal, an established side for many years, will meet Spain in a one off to see who advances against Samoa in the two-game Playoff Sport for a 2019 Rugby World Cup berth.
At the start of the 2018 European Championship Division there had been high, but ultimately, unrealized, hopes that a slumbering German rugby fifteen would emerge as a new, and competitive contestant in the second tier Europe event. Germany had gone 2-3 the previous year, including an upset against Romania. But injuries to the German squad this season ended all chances for a better showing, Germany remains the largest nation with an excellent sports background that has yet to mount an uptick on the world rugby stage. They sit at 29th place in the World Rugby standings.