Portugal edge nearer RWC'07
PA Sport
March 10, 2007

Portugal edged nearer to booking a place at this year's Rugby World Cup with a 12-5 victory over Uruguay in the first leg of their repechage play-off clash in Lisbon.

In a score-less first half at the Estadio Universitario de Lisboa Portugal's fly half Duarte Pinto missed three penalties whilst Uruguay fullback Juan Menchaca missed two.

The home side finally broke the deadlock early in the second period by conjuring a classic counter attack score.

Under pressure deep in their own half, Pedro Carvalho snaffled an interception and raced downfield before feeding centre Diogo Gama who scored under the posts.

Fullback Pedro Leal slotted the easy conversion to the delight of the capacity crowd.

Despite controlling proceedings for much the half the hsots were unable to capitalise on their dominance and had to wait until the last ten minutes for their second score when Diogo Countinho touched down after a good spell of pressure.

However Uruguay though kept alive their hopes of joining New Zealand, Scotland, Italy and Romania in Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2007 with a late try from captain Rodrigo Capo after a defensive error.

Portugal coach Tomaz Morais was delighted with the win but is well aware the job is not complete.

"Seven points is nothing in rugby, we know that," he said. "We need a good game in Uruguay, to play with courage and we will play with our style without fear. We know with good defence and ball in hand we will have our chances because the two teams are very similar.

"In terms of the game my players need good mentality and need to play for a win not a loss. They need a win, whether by one, two or three points. That is the mentality, not just to defend seven points. To do that is stupid in my opinion."

The hosts will defend their slender lead in the second leg at the Estadio Parque Central de Club Nacional in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo on March 24.

Portugal (0) 12
Tries: Gama, Countinho
Con: Leal

Uruguay (0) 5
Try: Capo

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