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Portugal defeats Morocco 16-15 in rugby World Cup qualifying playoff

Portugal defeats Morocco 16-15 in rugby World Cup qualifying playoff

Portugal fended off Morocco 16-15 and moved a step closer to qualifying for its first rugby World Cup on Saturday.
Morocco, also bidding to make its World Cup debut, had to win by six points after losing the first leg 10-5 in Casablanca the previous weekend. Its second try _ to Portugal's one _ allowed Morocco to trail by one point with 15 minutes to play but it couldn't score again at University of Lisbon.
Portugal will meet Uruguay in a home-and-away series in March for a berth in World Cup Pool C with New Zealand, Scotland, Italy and Romania.
Hicham Eziyar booted Morocco ahead with an early penalty, then the home side took over, Cardoso Pinto leveling with a penalty in the 16th minute, and No. 8 Vasco Uva scoring a converted try in the 34th.
Morocco missed two penalties and Portugal went to the break up 10-3, which became 10-8 two minutes into the new spell when Morocco winger Gharib Chadid crossed.
Pinto widened the lead to eight with two more penalties in the quarter, but in the 65th Morocco's more powerful pack drove over the line for a try, converted by Eziyar, which set up a thrilling end.
Portugal will host Uruguay in Lisbon on March 10, then travel to Montevideo on March 24.
For the only other remaining berth in the World Cup, Tonga and South Korea meet in Auckland, New Zealand on Feb. 10 for a place alongside England, South Africa, Samoa and the United States in Pool A.


Updated : 2021-03-08 11:42 GMT+08:00