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A men’s championship ended this past weekend in the European Nations Cup (ENC), also known as Six Nations B. Georgia were the event’s winner for the eighth year out of the past ten. The Lelos defeated second place Romania 38-9 in front of an enthusiastic home town crowd that numbered more than 50,000 fans (To view the match on You Tube access: https://youtu.be/ox_3hc-V_qA).
The two-years, 2015/2016 won/loss record follows:
- Georgia 10-0
- Romania 7-3
- Russia 5-5
- Spain 4-6
- Germany 1-9
- Portugal 1-9
A different format exists in the ENC, the last place team is relegated to Division 2A, which means Portugal will drop, and Belgium, winner of Division 2A, will play in the Six Nations B for the 2017/2018 seasons.
Georgia and Romania, past 2015 World Cup participants, where Georgia went 2-2 with a victories against Namibia and Tonga, and Romania went 1-3 with a memorable comeback against Canada, want to expand the Six Nations Championship to eight teams. This would provide these Tier 2 sides with annual matches against England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Italy.
The Welsh coach suggested that another alternative was to relegate the last place Six Nations side (perennial loser Italy) and promote the ENC champion, (perennial winner Georgia). This will not happen as Italy have invested heavily in funds and rugby infrastructure.
Russia which show no Six Nations B championship to claim in the past ten-years, have placed second twice, and third on four occasions. Spain continually stay mid pack, and if Los Leones are to advance higher, with an eye to qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, they must demonstrate significant improvement.