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MALTA RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION: Ash plume won’t stop National Squad 4/20/2010

After last November’s dramatic win against Sweden and a sterling effort against Holland at the weekend, Damian Neill’s national squad are ready to deliver a powerful performance against Latvia on Saturday. While Malta lost against the Netherlands (0-19) the squad rallied in the second half, dominating the Dutch. The Latvians are buoyed up after their 31 – 27 win against a somewhat diminished Swedish squad, but Malta’s boys will take heart from their winning history. In recent years, Malta has won three out of four matches against Latvia, the last being April 2009, when Malta beat the opposition by an impressive 32 – 19.

The European Division 2B Championship match at Hibernians Stadium, kicks off at 2.00p.m, Saturday 24th April and will be played out in front of thousands of hopeful rugby supporters.

“In spite of best laid plans, no one could have predicted Mother Nature’s weird sense of humour,” said MRFU President, Martin Galea. “The squad has been severely affected by the Icelandic volcanic ash, making travel virtually impossible. They had to coach it from their UK training centre all the way to Amsterdam and then got stuck there for two days after the Holland game,” explained Mr Galea. “I can’t begin to imagine their frustration, but they will play on Saturday against the odds.  For that reason alone, we owe them our full support.”

Hosted by Malta Rugby Football Union (MRFU) sponsors, Cisk Lager and Mazda, the pre-match press conference was held at Marsa, where Martin Galea was keen to thank sponsors. “It’s vital that we recognise the huge commitment of our sponsors who play an incredibly important role in the growth of the sport on the Island. Cisk, in particular, has a long standing association with the world of rugby and are quite right to feel they, along with Mazda and GasanMamo, own part of the success of the Malta National Rugby Team.”

As well as thousands of eager fans, Saturday’s match will be watched by Monsieur Jean-Claude Baque, President of FIRA/AER, the European Rugby organisation. Monsieur Baque is visiting Malta in advance of the European Rugby Association Congress in June. Last year, delegates from 43 countries, including the top ranking Six Nations, voted overwhelmingly for Malta to host the 2010 Congress, a decision which reflects the good standing and popularity of the MRFU amongst European Countries.

And, placing Malta and its sporting prowess firmly on the world stage, a crew from Total Rugby, the popular sports programme produced by the UK’s Endemol Productions will be filming the match as well as filming background scenic and cultural shots of the Island. Total Rugby is broadcast in over 100 countries with an audience outreach of approximately 168 million.

On Saturday 24th April, doors open at Hibs at 12.30pm and kick off is at 2.00pm. Ticket hotline: 99881266. For more information, please visit www.maltarugby.com.