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Rugby Final Fever - Malta must win by 10 points 5/26/2005

The second leg of the play-off will take place on Saturday, 28 May 2005, at Hibs Stadium, Kordin at 1.00pm. Sponsored by Cisk Lager, the Malta national team will be battling Denmark in the second leg of the World Cup 2007 Qualifiers. Rugby fans are once again urged to support and cheer the Malta National Rugby team.

Following the brave away win against Bulgaria, and the disappointing home defeat by Serbia-Montenegro, the battling Malta team was drawn in a play off with Denmark.  The latter is nearly twenty places above Malta in the International Rankings. Last week, Malta played the away leg in Odense, and lost by only nine points in a game which saw no tries, only penalties.

“This means that playing at home, Malta must beat the Danes and win by ten clear points if they are to progress to the next qualifying round of the 2007 Rugby World Cup,” said Damien Neill, Malta’s national team coach.

“The nine point cushion gained by the Danes in their 12-3 victory, is hardly a comfortable margin and Malta has everything to play for, hoping to bring their speedy 15 man, handling game into action, going for tries and moving wide. In Odense, the Danes hardly managed to threaten the Maltese goal line, so there is good reason to hope that if Malta play well to a good plan, we can achieve the next step,” continued Damien Neill.

The Danes, who field several New Zealanders, are a well-drilled technical side.  They will try to kick Malta out.  The match could prove to be a spectacular clash of styles, resulting in a crowd pleasing game.

Unfortunately, some key Maltese players are missing from this match, such as Dave Gasan and Rohan Spiteri, who are injured, and Dean Zammit is unable to travel from Australia. Nevertheless Van Moll is available again and the replaced players performed well in Denmark, especially the local boys Chris Vassallo at lock and Ian Borda at prop. The spirit in the Maltese team is absolutely great and the very experienced Steve Kempster, who knows the game backwards, is the Captain.

“Yet again, Cisk Lager is sponsoring Malta's national rugby team of the year and it is due to Farsons' continuing long term support that Maltese Rugby has been able to achieve so much on the international field,” said Mike Turner, PRO for MRFU. “It is hoped that the Maltese public will once again take the rugby team to their hearts and give their wonderful support to roar them on to victory.”

Prior to the match, there will be warm up matches by juniors and women's rugby squads and DJ's will be entertaining the crowds.