SPORTS

Spain bags Corfu 7s, Greece finishes sixth

Spain came through to win the inaugural Corfu European Rugby Union 7s Championship title at Kerkyra FC on Saturday, while Greece finished a creditable sixth. The Spaniards barely broke a sweat in their 52-0 win over a disappointing Bulgarian side and went on to overpower Andorra 19-0 in the semifinal. Russia capitalized on a good opening day to hammer a plucky Corfu side 52-0 and then, in a slightly more serious encounter, beat Italy 32-7 in the semifinals. The final proved to be a classic of its kind, the Spaniards winning 26-22 against a Russian side that refused to roll over. Italy beat Andorra 28-0 for third place and Bulgaria beat Greece 15-5 to leave the Greeks in sixth place, the same as the 7s in Georgia earlier this month but promising stronger things. Greece downed Cyprus 17-7 and thrashed Luxembourg 33-0 on Saturday, entertaining the fans who were present. The Greece squad consisted of Giorgi Mshvildadze (captain), George Tsartsaronis, Phillip Sotiriadis, Vassilis Katsakos, Vangelis Nastas, Nikos Mavreas, Chris Fiotakis, Fotis Valmas, Costas Makrykostas (all Athens RFC) and Alexandros Gounaris (Attica Springboks). Cyprus finished seventh after beating Luxembourg 29-0, while the Corfu scratch side, thrown together at the last moment, came in 10th but full of spirit. It lost to Bulgaria 31-0 in the ninth-place playoff. Makeshift Corfu side The hastily assembled team representing Corfu made its international debut in the Corfu 7s after Israel failed to show up for the tournament which started on Friday. Costas Papadopoulos and Mike Loizou who were cut from the Greece squad when it was reduced from 12 to 10 were quickly transferred and joined by a number of other Greek players who had made the trip to Corfu for the tournament. They opened up in the third match of the day but were on the receiving end of a 48-10 defeat by Andorra in Group A. They later lost 20-0 to Luxembourg and 57-0 to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Greece also struggled in its opening game in Group B, going down 31-5 to the experienced Spanish side. The team came back well to beat Bulgaria 31-0 but ended on a disappointing note, going down 31-0 to Italy. Cyprus also got off to a losing start, going down 34-0 to Spain who later beat Italy 10-5 in a tightly contested game. The Cypriots rallied superbly, however, to draw 7-7 with Italy, the only Six Nations country to be represented at the tournament, and finished with a confident 49-0 win over the Bulgarians.