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Germany keep World Cup dream alive, will face Samoa for place in Ireland's pool

The sides will face off in a home-and-away play-off.

Germany defeated Portugal today.
Germany defeated Portugal today.
Image: Europa Press

SECOND-TIER EUROPEAN rugby’s roller-coaster trip towards next year’s World Cup saw Germany beat Portugal 16-13 on Saturday to set up a two-leg play-off with Samoa, the winner of which qualifies directly for Japan.

“For us, this was a real end game and really important for the future of German rugby. We have now taken a big step forward,” said Germany coach, Uruguayan Pablo Lemoine.

The boot of South African-born Raynor Parkinson sealed the win with three penalties in Heidelberg.

The inside centre also converted a second-half try from number eight Jarrid Els, another South African convert who has qualified for Germany on residency.

The Germans will travel to Apia on 30 June and host the return leg on 14 July, with the winner going on to complete Pool A, facing Japan, Ireland, Russia and Scotland.

“The chances of winning are 100 percent,” insisted Lemoine.

“You have to believe that you can achieve something big, we don’t want to just dream anymore.

“Regular games against big teams are the goal for the German team.”

The loser will enter a repechage along with Canada, Africa 2 and either the Cook Islands or Hong Kong.

That four-team competition takes place in France in November with the winner going into Pool B, including New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Africa 1.

Qualification among Europe’s second-tier countries has been mired in controversy.

Russia were awarded a place at the 2019 World Cup in Japan after World Rugby sensationally disqualified Spain, Romania and Belgium.

Russia had finished third in European qualifying for the World Cup but head to the tournament after Romania, who originally won the section, second-placed Spain and fourth-placed Belgium were all docked points for fielding ineligible players.

Germany, whose front-line players and coaching staff all stood down at the end of 2017 in a dispute with their federation, suddenly found themselves looking at a game with an eye on Japan rather than what should have been relegation.

© – AFP 2018

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