Rugby Union: Lithuania inspired by fans

“I thought we started quite nicely considering the fact that some of these guys are new to International rugby,” said Majokweni-Manyosha.

He continued, “We would prefer to play a quality 80 minutes of Rugby but these guys are still learning so we’re hoping they just keep getting better.”

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The South African manager also guided the national team to a dominating 21-point win over Andorra earlier in the European Nations 2B tournament before celebrating his first win on Lithuanian soil before a crowd of 800.

However on this occasion the absence of International based players would see the home nation surrender a 16-point lead in the dying stages as a result of late tries scored by Hungarian duo Dániel Pluhár and Attila Jámbor.

Lithuanian regulars Justinas Vasiliauskas and Žygimantas Radžius both revealed there was room for improvement post-match.

“We made a lot of mistakes, which wasn’t to the satisfaction of the coaches; but at the end of the day we won and both teams were amazed by the large crowd considering the cold weather,” said Radžius.

Vasiliauskas, a fellow Šiauliai Vairas favourite, agreed the stadium crowd proved influential.

“This win was inspired by the supporters; they fuelled our real desire to rise above,” said the 29-year-old.

Fellow 29-year-old Kęstutis Marcišauskas lead the scoring for Lithuania with 18-points while Vasiliauskas finished with 10 after scoring the game’s opening two tries.

Lithuania will next play Latvia on home soil on April 25.

This is a symbolic date for a handful of Rugby nations as it marks the 100th anniversary since members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) during World War I.

Until then Cyprus and Latvia will commence their tournament this Saturday; facing Andorra and Hungary respectively.

Majokweni-Manyosha admits he is already looking forward to working on strengthening the Lithuanian side, ranked 45th in the world, ahead of a Rugby World Cup year.

“Obviously we now have the break so our main focus is on training and conditioning,” said Majokweni-Manyosha.

“We also want to find a way to keep them (local players) together so that when the players abroad return we have larger numbers to select from.”

Lithuanian national captain and games record holder Mindaugas Misevičius has also stated that he is looking forward to being reunited with Lithuania’s foreign based contributors.

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Meanwhile, Switzerland opened its account in the European Nations 2A tournament with a 29:18 win before 1,200 in Israel.

The Swiss were promoted to the higher division despite going to Lithuania 24:18 in April this year.

Slovenia maintained its top spot on the 2C table thanks to a come from behind 16:10 win in Denmark while Luxembourg shot to second after dominating Serbia 36:0.

Similar to Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina is the only nation to have played two matches in its division; maintaining its top position in the 2D tournament following a high scoring 34:25 affair in Turkey.

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