Cyprus Rugby 7s Triumph in Montenegro

The Cyprus 7s squad celebrating their championship win

The Cyprus Rugby 7s squad travelled to Bar, Montenegro for the Rugby Europe Sevens Conference 2 Championships over the weekend of 15 – 16 June 2024. After some hard-fought matches, Cyprus emerged as winners, beating Slovakia (who they had played in their opening match of the pool stages) 19 – 12. This result means that Cyprus will be promoted to the Conference 1 division next season.

The squad that travelled was a mixture of experience and youth, led by Head Coach Marko Mladenovic assisted by Alex Zavallis-Roebuck, with Physio Lucy Wood and Team Manager Dave Lee making up the staff.

The Cyprus 7s squad: Yianni Baimas, Hadee Fayaz, Angelo Lianos, Vaki Antoniou, Alex Pantechis, Nikolas Frost, Pantelis Stylianou, Demetrios Sofocleous, Alex Thompson, Marcus Holden, Ben Yarrow, Olly Yarrow.
The 7s squad:
Yianni Baimas
Hadee Fayaz
Angelo Lianos
Vaki Antoniou
Alex Pantechis
Nikolas Frost
Pantelis Stylianou
Demetrios Sofocleous
Alex Thompson
Marcus Holden
Ben Yarrow
Olly Yarrow

Cyprus finishes off day 1 at the top of the pool

Day 1 came to a close with only 2 of the 8 competing teams unbeaten, Estonia who topped Pool A and Cyprus who topped Pool B.

The final pool standings from Rugby Europe’s website

Cyprus opened the tournament with the first game v Slovakia, which resulted in a 24 – 22 victory. A close final score although the victory was never in doubt.
After a break of 3 hours, the second pool game was v Montenegro A (the hosts). Cyprus tackled this game head-on from the off and never gave Montenegro an opportunity to get a foothold in the game. Some excellent team support play and a couple of individual pieces of skill to break the line and race away for a score meant that Cyprus won 38 – 21.

In the final game of the day Cyprus played Kosovo easily despatching them with an emphatic 35-0 win.

Day 2 Semi Finals Pool A Cyprus v Slovenia

Cyprus made a racing start to the game and soon had a healthy lead which was never in danger. The players executed the game plan to the letter, playing with flair, moving the ball quickly, supporting each other in attack and seemingly scoring at will. A very powerful performance saw Cyprus run out winners with a final score of 25 – 0.

Winners of Pool B were Slovakia

The Final
The last game of the day was the final, but that was some 4 ½ hours away, so the squad needed to manage themselves properly by resting, recovering and fuelling correctly so that they would be 100% ready for the final against their opening game opposition, Slovakia who looked strong in their semi final.

The final kicked off and Cyprus immediately found their rhythm, exploiting gaps in the Slovakian defence to establish a 19 – 0 lead at half time. The second half was a long 7 minutes and saw Cyprus withstand pressure from Slovakia who scored two late tries with a conversion making the final score Cyprus 19 – Slovakia 12.

The final was won, and Cyprus were crowned Rugby Europe Conference 2 Champions 2024!

At the conclusion of the tournament, the pool of referees voted the Cyprus Captain, Marcus Holden, Player of the Tournament, which is a great honour for him personally and also a reflection of how the whole squad had performed across both days of the tournament, which helped him reach the heights of performance that he did.

Across the Championships, Cyprus scored a total of 23 tries, which is a reflection of the talent within the squad to finish off good approach play and make it count when it matters.

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