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Malta lose 17-16 but stay up on points difference

The Malta rugby team just managed to survive in European Division 2B yesterday after a second-half collapse saw them being edged by Andorra 17-16 in La Vella.

The result left Malta and Andorra bottom of the group, level on 12 points but Damien Neill's men retain their status for the next two years as they have finished with a better points difference.

Malta looked in control in the first half with Paul Marzella scoring a try and two penalties while Rohan Spiteri added another try for a comfortable 16-5 lead at the interval.

But in the second half the Maltese seemed to have lost the plot as they were outpowered by the hosts who scored three tries in quick succession, one of them converted, to turn the match in their favour - 17-16.

Luckily, the Maltese managed to limit the damage, losing by the smallest of margins.

The match was marred by some trouble midway through the second half with Malta's Mick McArdle being hit by a bottle.

Final standings: Poland 22 (promoted), Latvia 18, Croatia 16, Malta 12, Andorra 12 (relegated).

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