Rugby / European Nations Cup

Israel Hosts Czech Republic

Hosts playing to avoid Division 2A wooden spoon, having failed to win a game so far.

Israel Rugby Union

Israel’s national rugby team looks for its first win of its Division 2A campaign when it hosts the Czech Republic at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports tomorrow.

The Czechs, who were relegated from Division 1B after the previous round of games, are the only opponents Israel has managed to draw, when they pulled off the unexpected feat last April in a match that ended 26-26. The other squads in the five-team division are Switzerland, Croatia and Malta. Israel is still stinging from a 28-3 defeat at the hands of the division-leading Swiss.

Israel had been in serious danger of relegation, but because of a rule change, no team in the division will be relegated, Amir Tito of the Israel Rugby Union told Haaretz yesterday. Therefore, he noted, Israel is only playing for its honor.

The Czechs, on the other hand, still have a chance of getting promoted back to Division 1B. They trail division-leading Switzerland by one point. The Czechs can thus be counted on to show up with a strong lineup, including professional players from the French rugby league.

Tito said he expects Israel to play fast and to press, because the Czechs are much bigger physically.

Israel rugby organizers are very keen on a vociferous turnout to cheer on the home side at Wingate. The Israel Rugby Union announced this week that in addition to the game, it will hold an event for the whole family, including a national seven-a-side youth tournament, prior to the 2 P.M. kick-off.