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Malta blitz Croatia to take charge of group

Malta brushed aside Croatia to seal top place in their group. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Malta brushed aside Croatia to seal top place in their group. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Damian Neill’s national team produced another terrific performance, putting together some great passages of play and showing perfect cohesion as they beat Croatia 56-8 in their Conference 1 South match.

Coach Neill was seeking an improvement in performance respective to last month’s win away at Bosnia and he certainly got one as Malta overran their opponents, never really taking their foot off the gas and backed by a raucous crowd at the ground in Corradino.

After coming flying out of the traps and scoring an unconverted early try through James O’Brien, Croatia had a brief spell of possession from which Vinko Rudic levelled matters but the home side soon reset themselves and took charge of the rest of the half.

Christopher Dudman scored after a lightning breakaway on the left flank, while Robert Holloway took advantage of a loose pass and showed impressive skills with his feet before diving for the try.

Malta scored again through Luke Watts and James O’Brien with the no.15 converting the last of them to take Malta into half-time with a 30-8 lead.

The initial stages of the second half were broken up by injuries and stoppages but after James Kirk took advantage of a lineout breakdown to score again, any sign of a Croatia fightback was off the table.

O’Brien converted two Thomas Holloway tries before another one of his own to seal a resounding victory that leaves Malta top of the Conference Section going into 2018.

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