Portugal head coach João Moura says his players cannot wait to face Sweden again when the teams meet in the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship 2024 on Saturday.

Sweden won the teams’ only previous meeting, prevailing 7-5 in a tight contest in November 2022 thanks to Elin Sterner’s second-half try and Victoria Petersson’s conversion.

That match was only Portugal’s fifth in test rugby, and their fourth since ending a 26-year hiatus from the international game.

Portugal have since gone on to win the Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy 2022-23, earning promotion to the expanded Championship and they could gain as many as three places in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini with victory in Lisbon.


The hosts are guaranteed to climb two places to 25th with an eighth win of Moura’s reign but would end the weekend 24th if that victory is secured by more than 15 points.

Sweden, who currently sit 20th, are unable to improve on their ranking even with a first win of the 2024 Women’s Championship due to the rating-point gap between the two teams.

Moura said: “We are pretty eager to play the game against them. We also identified a couple of things that we couldn't perform [in the 7-5 loss] but based on our fault.

“A couple of balls that we wasted and a couple of balls that we should have been able to play, a couple of spaces that we conceded on defence that hopefully we will be able to adjust and recover.

“So, I believe it's going to be a very interesting game on Saturday.”

Both teams head into the match having kicked off their campaigns with defeat to the Netherlands, Sweden 59-0 in Amsterdam and Portugal 31-7 in Lisbon.

Moura thinks that will make for a committed contest once referee Kathie Ritchie blows the first whistle at CAR Rugby do Jamor on Saturday.

“I believe it’s going to be played down to the last minute,” he said. “Sweden, it’s their second year in the Championship and that brings a lot of experience for them as well.

“They’ve got a higher work rate than us and I believe that they have improved a lot as well from last year to this year. So, it’s going to be a tough challenge.”