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Czechia go top in European Trophy

Defending champions Czechia are just one win away from retaining their European Trophy title after beating Switzerland in Brno today.

Petra Vacková scores Czechia's second try

Swizerland travelled to Brno today to take on Czechia for the Konector Cup – and vital points in the 2019/20 European Trophy.

Rain and a heavy pitch greeted them at a very attractive ground in Brno for their first match of the tournament. They were also met with a more enterprising Czechia than played in Helsinki last month, the home team nearly scoring after just three minutes, crossing the line only to be held up, and only just kicking the ball dead in a foot race two minutes later.

Somehow the Swiss held them out, but despite having long runs of possession could find no way through the Czech line, the game remaining firmly within their half of the field. Eventually after 20 minutes the Czech pressure told. In a well worked move, a quick tapped penalty 10m from the Swiss line found its Daniela Ferugová who burst through the Swiss line to score. 5-0.

The pattern continued from the restart, and on 32 minutes the Czechs crossed the line again – only to drop the ball, and five minutes later were again held-up. As the game neared halftime it looked like all of this Czech pressure might result in just one try before a great interception set up Kateřina Koubová who raced away, was tackled, but off-loaded to Petra Vacková who scored the second try. 10-0, and halftime.

The Swiss finally broke into the Czech end early in the second half, and after 54 minutes a scrum on the Czech 5m line saw the Swiss send the home team pack backwards, allowing Anne Thiébaud to seize on the gap created and score. 10-5 – and Switzerland were back in the game against a tiring Czech team.

A tense final quarter, with both teams making full use of their benches, followed with a game that could be decided by a single mistake. The Czechs continued to dominate possession, but with 5 minutes to go Geraldine Fontana intercepted for the Swiss – but just lacked the speed to break away.

Two minutes later a perfectly weighted kick by Czechia’s Alexandra Zítková set up a race, won by Kateřina Nováková, crashing down on the ball to score the Czechs’ third try, winning the game for Czechia, who play Sweden next week for what should be the decisive match in this season’s Trophy campaign.

Scores: 20m Try Czechia (Daniela Ferugová); 40m Try Czechia (Petra Vacková). HT: CZE 10-0 SWI
54m Try Switzerland (Anne Thiébaud); 78m Try Czechia (Kateřina Nováková)

Teams

Czechia: 1. Gabriela Špačková; 2. Aneta Šmejdová; 3. Bohuslava Hostinská; 4. Kristýna Plevová; 5. Petra Křiklánová; 6. Jana Urbanová; 7. Kateřina Koubová; 8. Tereza Haffnerová; 9. Kristýna Jungerová; 10. Klára Hladilová; 11. Tereza Baťhová; 12. Kateřina Nováková; 13. Petra Vacková; 14. Michaela Kovářová; 15. Daniela Ferugová
Replacements: 16. Zuzana Skokanová; 17. Kateřina Wackermanová; 18. Kristýna Dubnová; 19. Alena Trunečková; 20. Monika Štěpánová; 21. Alexandra Zítková; 22. Lucie Oupicová; 23. Hana Běhalová

Switzerland: 1. Oumou Barry; 2. Rebecca Ellis; 3. Rico Sorli; 4. Nicole Gerber-Imsand; 5. Juliette Pera; 6. Heather Cegla; 7. Charline Graf; 8. Sophie Morsher; 9. Fabienne Ullmann; 10. Simone Haymoz; 11. Kim Andrey; 12. Rahel Bosshard; 13. Anne Thiébaud; 14. Marina Leimgruber; 15. Emily Marclay
Replacements: 16. Angela Stadelmann; 17. Stephanie Klupp; 18. Anais Kistler; 19. Geraldine Fontana; 20. Julie Gaudin; 21. Manon Meunier; 22. Marion Ernest; 23. Rebekka Hosch

European Trophy (after 3 games)

Czechia P2, W1, D1, L0, 6pts
Sweden P1, W1, D0, L0, 4pts
Finland P2, W0, D1, L1, 2pts
Switzerland P1, W0, D0, L1, 0pts