Portugal displayed some amazing rugby over their four matches. The squad was comprised of mature and skilful players who were all playing their first Rugby World Cup. Two big moments will remain forever – the draw against Georgia when they claimed their first RWC point and the 24-23 win against Fiji, Portugal’s first-ever RWC victory.
Try of the tournament
Rodrigo Marta’s late try against Fiji. Things did not look too good when Frank Lomani kicked a penalty with four minutes to go, giving Fiji a 23-17 lead. But Marta cut inside to cross the line after a typical Portuguese move full of pace and daring. Samuel Marques converted it to spark scenes of joy in Toulouse - and no doubt back home in Portugal.
Quote that said it all
“We are growing game by game and we need experience. I want to forgive the bad choices because they defended really well in the second half.”
Patrice Lagisquet clear-sightedness was a breath of fresh air throughout the tournament, and what he said during the Portugal v Georgia post-match press conference encapsulates the love the French coach feels for his players.
Man of the moment
A classy goalkicker, as he proved at the end of the Fiji game, Samuel Marques was also Portugal’s master playmaker, guiding his team around the pitch with great variety in what would be his final international competition.
A special mention to hooker Mike Tadjer who, as well as doing the basics well, proved his kicking prowess with a crowd-pleasing touch-finder against Fiji, reaching halfway from his own 22.
One for the future
At just 22, we're going to be hearing much more from Raffaele Storti. The Béziers wing scored three tries and was a constant threat during the pool stages. Top-level club rugby beckons.
From the touchline
Just like the Chile fans, Portugul's supporters set the Stadium de Toulouse on fire. The Portuguese diaspora is a big one in France – especially in the south-west of the country – and they made their presence felt. Portugal won all six of their points in Toulouse - just reward for their army of supporters.
Only Tonga’s Sione Talitui tackled more than Nicolas Martins. The Portuguese flanker completed 63 across the pool stage, also making 196 metres to embody Portugal’s ’total rugby’.
Portugal is at a crossroads. They did not qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 initially but finally made it due to administrative reasons - and boy did they make the most of it. Had they held on to beat Georgia, direct qualification for the 2027 tournament was even a possibility.
After four years worth of hard work, Lagisquet turned Portugal's ‘golden generation’ of players into a competitive and exciting team - leaving a lot for his successor to live up to.