Portugal completed the grand slam of victories in the Rugby Europe Trophy 2017 after a 31-7 defeat of their hosts Ukraine in Odessa on Saturday.

The win sets up a play-off with Belgium, who finished bottom of this year's Rugby Europe Championship after replacing Portugal in the top tier, and keeps Portugal's hopes of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2019 still alive.

Portugal have been the dominant force in the Trophy this year, scoring 26 tries and conceding only four in winning four of their five matches with a try bonus point. They top the table with 24 points, 10 more than the Netherlands who still have one match still to play.

Their latest victory is enough for a one-place climb in the World Rugby Rankings, lifting them above Kenya into 23rd place. The defeat on home soil means Ukraine slip two places to 37th with Moldova and Zimbabwe the beneficiaries.


This win was also the first of two successes for Portugal on Saturday with their U20 team beating Spain 12-7 to win the Rugby Europe Championship and book their place at the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 in Uruguay later in the year.

Tries from scrum-half Francisco Magalhaes and centre Manuel Vilela gave Portugal a 14-0 advantage by the half hour mark at Spartak Stadium, although Ukraine halved that advantage when flanker Valentyn Lytvynenko touched down just before the break.

The score remained at 14-7 in Portugal's favour until the clock edged towards 70 minutes when winger Goncalo Foro capitalised on Ukraine having two players in the sin-bin to touch down his side's third try to give them a little breathing room.

Flanker Joao Lino and fly-half Nuno Penha Costa then added their name's to the try-scorers to wrap up the bonus-point win for Portugal.

Photo credit: Alexandr Lesyk