Fresh from two victories over Finland (32-3) and Bosnia (11-9), Norway was confident of recording a third win, having been relegated from Division 2C at the end of last season.
Played on an excellent pitch, despite the rain, and thanks to a fine refereeing performance, an entertaining encounter was provided by both teams.
Luxembourg started the match at pace and dominated the visitors in the early exchanges and whilst producing pressure, was unable to produce points. Two early penalty attempts by Bertrand Cohen-Sabban at 10th and 14th minutes were both unsuccessful and gave an indication as to the difficulties caused by the weather.
A serious leg injury to lock Scott McKinlay on 25 minutes saw him leave the field in an ambulance, and this did disrupt the Luxembourg team for a period, which saw Norway back into the match.
Despite this, Luxembourg settled down and played close to the forwards before a well taken try to Adrien Timmermans on 38 minutes opened the scoring. With the conversion missing the half time arrived with Luxembourg 5-0 to the good.
Luxembourg dominant in second half
The second half started in a similar fashion, with Luxembourg dominant, but too many errors in the backline hindered the continuity and again too often allowed Norway to regain possession. The forward pack was totally in control at scrum and maul time and with Jan Louw causing immense discomfort to the Norwegian defence, it was simply a matter of time before another score developed. This time it was Philippe Vimond who benefited from some excellent forward work, before an accurate cross kick from Cohen-Sabban to score in the right hand corner. Again the conversion was unsuccessful, 10-0.
Norway fights back
Norway then kicked a penalty for 10-3, before an injury to Adam Marcus saw him depart and Matias Garcia-Polak entered for his first cap at hooker. From his first throw to the lineout, a good take by Julien da Col, and an excellent driving maul by the forwards, a fine try was scored by the pack for a 15-3 lead and the game appeared safe.
However, as with the previous game in Finland, Luxembourg eased off a little and Norway raised their performance, to maintain a period on attack which saw the locals concede a number of penalties before Norway eventually scored a deserved try. Again the conversion was astray, and with the teams separated by only one score, the final 10 minutes saw Norway striving to tie the game up, but a superb steal by captain, Saman Rezapour in the final action, guaranteed the victory for Luxembourg.
It was a fully deserved win and based on an outstanding forward effort where every player contributed, both on attack and in defence. The back row of Louw, Giffard and Sharplin carried the ball well all day and constantly got over the advantage line which made it easy for the second wave of attack to progress, where Rezapour, Marcus, Garcia-Polak, Zimmer, Da Col, Seite and McKinlay were efficient. In his first start for the National team, Will Dennis impressed at scrum half, although in the conditions his partnership with Cohen-Sabban was not always accurate, but clearly this will improve over time. Adrien Timmermans at fullback had an equally promising start in his new position and defensively all the backline was safe, but did not adapt well on attack to the wet conditions.
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