RWC 2023 Qualifier Spotlight: Portugal
We continue our countdown to Rugby World Cup 2023 with Portugal the latest nation under the spotlight for their RWC story.
The Rugby World Cup 2023 Final Qualification Tournament went right down to the wire before Samuel Marques booked Portugal’s ticket to France.
Os Lobos and USA could not be separated following 82 minutes of an intense test match, but in securing a draw at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai, it was Portugal who topped the standings on points difference.
Marques and his team-mates will now take their place in Pool C at RWC 2023 and can look forward to matches against Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Wales.
And, as the celebrations continue in Portugal, we look at the numbers behind the Final Qualification Tournament to understand how they won it.
2 – Portugal have now qualified for two Rugby World Cups. Their only previous tournament appearance came at RWC 2007, which was also played in France.
3 – five players crossed the whitewash three times during the tournament to finish tied at the top of the try-scoring chart. USA players Nate Augsperger, Christian Dyer and Dylan Fawsitt, as well as Portugal’s Raffaele Storti and Mike Tadjer each scored three tries.
8 – tries were scored per match in Dubai, on average. Less than half of those were scored in the first half, with the whitewash crossed an average of 4.67 times after half-time.
14 – yellow cards were shown during the six matches at The Sevens Stadium. Kenya team-mates Brian Juma and Geofrey Okwach each received two, the former in the same match, resulting in the tournament’s only red card.
26 – tries conceded by Kenya in Dubai, more than any other team. Hong Kong’s line was breached 15 times in three matches, while USA conceded four and Portugal three.
30 – players used by Portugal across three rounds of action at The Sevens Stadium. 14 of those played a part in all three matches.
37 – Marques, who kicked Portugal to RWC 2023, finished the Final Qualification Tournament as its top points scorer with 37. Marques kicked 14 conversions and three penalties, the latter all coming in the decisive match against USA.
48 – tries scored during the Final Qualification Tournament. Winners Portugal contributed 20 of those, while USA scored 18.
82 – the decisive swing of Marques’ right boot came in the 82nd minute of the sixth and final match at The Sevens Stadium. USA held the lead from the hour mark and were seconds from reaching RWC 2023 themselves.
113 – Portugal’s points difference after three matches, 17 better than USA (96). Os Lobos scored 143 points in three matches, while conceding 30. The men’s Eagles amassed 133 and conceded 37.