Uruguay to face Russia in repechage final
August 2, 2014
Uruguay's Felipe Berchesi attempts to shake off Matthew Lamming of Hong Kong © Getty Images
Russia will take on Uruguay for the final place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup after the two sides emerged as winners from their respective repechage semi-finals.
Russia were first to secure their place in the final, defeating Zimbabwe 23-15 in Saturday's first semi-final. Uruguay then earned the right to face them in the shoot-out with a hard-fought 28-3 victory over Hong Kong.
In the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia's Yuri Kushnarev kicked a penalty in the third minute but could not add to his nation's tally following Igor Klyuchnikov's try. Denis Simplikevich then put Russia in command as he dived over for a second try after 23 minutes.
Trailing 13-0, Zimbabwe collected their first points of the match through Lambert Groenewald's try. Guy Cronje, who had earlier missed his first attempt at goal, converted as Zimbabwe trailed by six points at half-time.
Zimbabwe closed the gap to three points at 13-10 when Cronje scored a penalty in the 48th minute, but Russia scored another try through Victor Gresev to increase their advantage.
Kushnarev put Russia further clear with a penalty, and despite Tafadzwa Chitokwindo's try for Zimbabwe towards the end Russia held on to reach the final.
In the Saturday's second semi-final, Uruguay were forced to work hard to overcome Asia's second-ranked side in front of a 5,000-strong crowd in Montevideo.
Hong Kong more than held their own in the first 40 minutes, going into the half-time break just 6-3 down. But the second-half saw the visitors concede penalty after penalty, with referee Federico Anselmi sending prop Leon Wei Hon Sum and captain Nick Hewson to the sin bin after 51 minutes and 67 minutes respectively.
Uruguay proved dominant in the scrum, but they were forced to rely on the penalty count to score their points for the majority of the game. That changed in the 72nd minute when fly-half Felipe Berchesi dived on a grubber kick to touch down in the corner, putting the score at 23-3.
Rubbing salt into Hong Kong's wounds, Uruguay then opted to kick a late penalty to the corner. They won the following line-out and worked through the phases before sending flanker Diego Magno barrelling over for the final score of the match.
The final will be played over two legs, with the dates for both fixtures announced in the near future.
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