Martin Havlicek came off the bench to score a last gasp try to give the Czech Republic a hard-fought 20-13 victory over Malta at the Hibs Stadium this afternoon.
It was a heart-breaking outcome for the hosts who were seconds from taking a point from the match with the score level at 13-all. But the Czechs’ superior physical condition made all the difference as they exposed the hosts tired legs to strike the winning try at the death.
The Czechs were off to a storming start as inside the opening ten minutes they scored the first try of the match following a powerful run by Ales Stejskal.
More woes followed for the hosts as 12 minutes from the break they lost Mark Davey who was yellow-carded and the Czechs duly capitalised as from the resultant line-out they charged forward with a driving maul that enabled Marek Loutocky to power through.
Petr Cizek again failed the conversion to leave the Czechs 10-0 ahead.
Numerical parity was restored on 35 minutes when Jiri Pantucek was yellow-carded for a high tackle. Luke Watts revived Malta’s hopes when he scored a fine try on the stroke of half-time which was duly converted by Quarendon to bridge the gap at 10-7 at the interval.
On resumption both teams scored a penalty each, Cizek for the Czechs and Quarendon responding for the Maltese to maintain the three-point gap, 13-10.
Quarendon scored from another penalty on 65 minutes to level the match at 13-all.
The Czechs pushed forward in search of the winning try and despite the hosts defending heroically it was late substitute Martin Havlicek who scored a try at the death and coverted by Cizek to hand the visitors a 20-13 victory.
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