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Portugal go top of Trophy

Portugal are now five points clear at the top of the European Trophy after seven-try win against Finland in Lisbon.

The only two remaining unbeaten teams in the 2022-23 European Trophy met today in Lisbon, with Portugal gaining a comprehensive win against Finland.

This was the first time the two teams had met, and also Portugal’s first competitive home match in what is their first season in the European Trophy. However, after recent performances against Belgium and Sweden, they started as the clear favourites and lived up to that billing.

Portugal’s confidence was clear from the start. In the sixth minute they won a penalty in front of the posts, but chose instead to go for the try. A quick tap resulted in a series of rucks on the Finnish 5m line before Portugal scrum-half Leonor Amaral spotted an overlap of the left, the ball was quickly out to Mariana Marques who dived over in the corner for the first try in the seventh minute.

Finland nearly pulled level on the quarter hour, crossing the line twice only to be held up on both occasions.

However, this was a rare foray by Finland into the Portuguese half. Soon they were under pressure again and on 23 minutes a kick ahead by Amaral saw Ines Spinola just win the race to the ball to double Portugal’s lead. The pressure on the Finnish line continued and a third try followed on the half-hour, wing Mariana Santos breaking down the line, followed by a fourth try four minutes later from Neuza Reis. Portugal lead 20-0 at the break.

The same pattern of play continued as the second half began, with a second try from Marques coming in the 46th minute before completing her hat-trick in after 62 minutes, showing her speed with a 60m run from inside her own half.

But they left the best for last with the final try in the 68th minute. A line out of the far worked across the field, a quick ruck, and Adelina Costa spotted a gap to score the seventh and final try. Final score, Portugal 39, Finland 0.

PORTUGAL: 1 Carlota Torres; 2 Ines Marques; 3 Neuza Reis; 4 Ana Freire; 5 Laura Pereira; 6 Raquel Costa; 7 Francisca Mendes; 8 Sara Moreira; 9 Leonor Amaral; 10 Beatriz Oliveira; 11 Mariana Santos; 12 Maria Costa; 13 Mariana Marques; 14 Ines Spinola; 15 Daniela Correia (Cap)
16 Elsa Santos; 17 Beatriz Rodrigues; 19 Marta Magalhaes; 18 Ana Fernandes; 20 Adelina Costa; 21 Ana Santos; 22 Isabel Ozorio; 23 Matilde Goes

FINLAND: 1 Sarianna Haavisto; 2 Sonja Jurmu; 3 Liisa Lemettila; 4 Eeva Pohjanheimo; 5 Hanna Visuri (Cap); 6 Reetta Tenhu; 7 Lilli Tikkanen; 8 Anna Soiluva; 9 Venla Lehtonen; 10 Jenna Koivumaki; 11 Kiira Kupiainen; 12 Heidi Hennessy; 13 Ida Herrgard; 14 Ruusu Halttunen; 15 Sanna Reinikainen
16 Jasmin Ahonen; 17 Pinja Pennanen; 18 Elisa Salonen; 19 Essi Kara; 20 Saara Kukkurainen; 21 Mira Saarikoski; 22 Hanna Timonen; 23 Jenni Makirinta;