Switzerland too strong for error-prone Malta

A physically stronger and more determined Swiss side took advantage of Malta’s high error rate to secure a modest but decisive 19-10 victory over the home side, at the FIRA-AER Division 2A qualifier played yesterday at the Hibernians Stadium in Paola.

7 April 2013, 12:00am
Switzerland took advantage of Malta's high error rate top secure a victory. Photo Ray Attard
Switzerland took advantage of Malta's high error rate top secure a victory. Photo Ray Attard

The match was played in blustery conditions which wreaked havoc with Malta’s goal-kicking – even though the two missed conversions and a penalty kick would not have been enough to overturn a nine-point lead at full time.

Playing with the wind in their backs for the first half, Switzerland kept up the pressure and the home side soon found itself encamped firmly in its own half.

The pressure eventually paid off for the visitors, who opened the score with an unconverted try, thanks to an intercepted clearance kick: the first of many mistakes which would cost the home team dearly.

Malta did mount a spirited comeback late in the first half: rewarded when Thomas Holloway finally broke through the defence after a patiently built-up attack involving numerous phases of forward play. Switzerland however replied with two penalties in quick succession, capably scored by fullback Simon Perrod.

The second half presented more attacking opportunities for Malta, many of which were sadly squandered by handling errors and penalty offences. Nonetheless an impressive try in the corner by Jamie O’Brien – fed by Vince Stivala after a well-worked forward set piece – raised hopes of a last-minute comeback.

This was not to last, however, as Malta found itself one man short for the last 10 minutes of the game, after Luke Watts was yellowed-carded. Numerical superiority sealed the victory for the Swiss, who duly capitalized to score close to full-time after a powerful rolling maul.

Malta’s next international encounter will take place next Saturday, when the national team will be hosted by group leaders the Netherlands.