Luxembourg have won promotion to the Rugby Europe Men's Trophy for the 2024-25 season after seeing off Moldova 19-0 in a hard-fought play-off contest.

As the team with the better points-per game ratio from the pool stage of the Rugby Europe Men's Conference, Luxembourg had the advantage of playing at home at Josy Barthel Stadium. But it took them until the 65th minute to really make it count and put some daylight between themselves and opponents.

The sides were only separated at half-time by Finton Lawler’s 32nd-minute try, the fly-half wriggling through a rare gap in Moldova’s midfield when their opponents were down to 14 players following a yellow card. Lawler then converted his own try to make it 7-0.

There was no further scoring in the first half and Moldova’s defence remained resolute after the break until the final quarter when they conceded two tries in quick succession.

First, prop Domenica Orsino received the ball wide out on the left and used his physical presence to hand-off a Moldovan defender and power over from five metres out on 65 minutes.

Now leading 12-0, Luxembourg were in no mood to allow Moldova a route back into the game and they made sure of the result a few minutes later by scoring a third try, which came with an extra two points following a superb touchline conversion, from a well-executed lineout move. 

The win will also send Luxembourg up to a new all-time high of 54th in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings when they are updated at 12 noon (GMT +1) on Monday, swapping places with Moldova, who fall to 59th.