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Latvia make test debut in Finland

Latvia became the 71st county to play test rugby on Sunday when they travelled to play Finland in Helsinki.

Latvia became the 71st county to play test rugby on Sunday when they travelled to play Finland in Helsinki.

Latvia have been playing international sevens since 2007, but made the step up to test rugby this weekend with a trip across the Baltic to meet Finland.

Commentators reported that Finland were the only team to enter the European Trophy this season, so there will not be a tournament, as a result of which the Finns are looking for playing opportunities, of which this was the first.

After a scrappy opening five minutes where Latvia had looked strong, especially in the scrum, it was Finland who opened the scoring with a great touchline run from Heidi Hennessy.

Latvia looked good at set pieces, but in open play their handling and slow rucks did not allow them to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way. As a result, although most of the play in the first 25 minutes was in the Finland end, but Latvia never threatened the line.

But as soon as Finland broke out into the Latvian half their scored their second try from a well timed kick ahead by the Finnish flyhalf.

A third try came just before the break, several pick-and-goes on the Latvian line finally ending with a score. So at halftime Finland lead 15-0.

Finland went on the attack at the start of the second half, but some heroic defence from Latvia frustrated the home team until the 51st minute when they scored a fourth try. 22-0.

Much of the next ten minutes saw deadlock between the teams in the centre of the field until the Finns broke away for a fifth try. 27-0.

But shortly afterwards captain a well-timed interception and 70m run by Latvian captain Sandra Lihovida gave Latvia their first ever test try. 27-7.

The final few minutes saw a sixth Finnish try following a maul from a lineout, initially pulled down by Latvia, with Finland scoring from the penalty.

The final Finnish score came right at the end of the game and followed Latvia being reduced to 14 players after a high tackle, Hennessy scoring a seventh try from the resulting penalty. Final score, Finland 41, Latvia 7

Sweden: Team not published.

Latvia: 1 Madara Dārzniece (LSPA/Livonia); 2 Patrīcija Paula Mūrniece (RK Miesnieki); 3 Ieva Gavare (RK Selena); 4 Anna Tutāne (LSPA/ Livonia); 5 Emija Verčinska (VC) (RK Selena); 6 Inese Sigutenkova (RK Miesnieki); 7 Beāte Justīne Blumberga (RK Miesnieki); 8 Zane Sirsniņa-Kukaine (RK Selena); 9 Liene Dumpe (RK Selena); 10 Anete Skrastiņa (RK Selena); 11 Alise Limmane (RK Selena); 12 Elīna Švāgere (RK Miesnieki); 13 Sandra Lihovida (C) (RK Selena); 14 Marta Puķīte (RK Selena); 15 Hanna Neilande (RK Selena); 16 Alise Lakija Širve (LSPA/Livonia); 17 Evelīna Roze-Puja (RK Miesnieki); 18 Līga Vilks (RK Miesnieki); 19 Aleksandra Ivanova (RK Miesnieki); 20 Arina Djatlova (RK Selena); 21 Krista Vītola (RK Miesnieki); 22 Kristīne Zivtiņa (RK Selena). Coach: Antonio Joao De Carvalho Abreu