Following the four SM qualifiers, the teams that will be making their way to Norrköping this summer for SM Week have been confirmed, and our ladies team are amongst them. Having collected 48 points in the qualifying process and finishing third in the region’s qualifier, we join the seven other qualifiers from the three qualifying regions.
The ladies have been seeded in group B where they will face Northern group winners Stockholm Exiles, West second place finishers Vänersborg and our old rivals from the south Malmö RC, who finished just above us in second place in the southern qualifier.
Having missed out on SM Week last year, the girls should be rightfully road of their achievement in a tough group and will need to step up their game again to try and place at the top of the final standings.
The club would like to congratulate on her selection as a reserve for the Swedish Ladies 7s squad for round 1 of the European Championships to be held in Ricany, Czech Republic next month. Good luck to everyone involved!
Going into the penultimate round of the ladies SM qualifier, our girls were still atop of the qualifier rankings, and with tough and even games with the rest of the group in previous rounds, everyone knew round 3 would be just as competitive.
The team that made the short trip down to Trelleborg was unchanged from the previous weekend and was as follows:
Malin Andersson, Océane Chabrol, Cecile Kaminksi, Sara Kaminski, Agnes Lindgren, Cornelia Norén, Meliha Mehmeti, Elizabeth Sonnenholzner and Martina Vivlund.
Game 1 vs. Pingvin
Having faced an understrength Pingvin side in the previous round, everyone knew that we would be faced with a stronger Pingvin side on their home patch, and as expected the girls from Trelleborg turned up this weekend at full strength.
Despite this, it was Lugi who were first to get on the scoreboard following their own scrum early on in the half, which having scrappily been hooked out, was cleaned up by Sonnenholzner who sent the ball on it’s way down the back line and eventually ending up in the hands of Martina, who cruised across the line to make it 5-0 to Lugi.
Sadly for our girls however, it would turn around from that moment in the favour of the home side, with our ladies not getting much of a say in the rest of the game. The remainder of the match can be summed up simply as our ladies not being able to secure their own possession from set pieces and Pingvin being a lot more aggressive in and around the contact area, leaving the team with only scraps to live off. With Pingvin converting their chances as they came along, they eventually ran out easy winners, putting our ladies on the back foot in the race to finish in the final.
Final Score: Lugi 5 – 25 Pingvin
Game 2 vs. Ronneby
The day’s second game saw us taking on the team that lay bottom of the series rankings, Ronneby, a team that had been strengthened from the previous week with the addition of some players from their farmer team, Wexiö.
As usual, Ronneby were no pushovers, as despite heavy defensive pressure from Lugi, they eventually broke round on the outside of our defence, only for Sandra to make the try saving tackle down the touchline. Having once again failed to execute their own set piece, Lugi conceded possession to Ronneby, but our Lionesses were the ones to benefit off of the ensuing phase of possession after Ronneby’s handling errors popped the ball up into the arms of the awaiting Sonnenholzner, who took off up the middle of the pitch before passing the ball into the waiting arms of Vivlund to take under the posts for the try.
From there the team got into a little tussle (metaphorically!) with the referee, with the man in the middle asserting his dominance and pinning our girls back time and again. But it was Lugi who would put the next points on the scoreboard, following a scrummage win against the head and some quick hands to Cornelia in the centre, who streaked away to extend Lugi’s lead to 12-0.
Having dominated the first half on the scoreboard, the second half would see Ronneby reverse that trend as they won the second half 12-7, with Elizabeth scoring Lugi’s only try. From a performance perspective the team learnt that mentally dropping focus can cause problems even against sides that should be handled easily, and whilst the win was a positive on the day, there was much still to work on.
This game would also see the team losing Sonnenholzner for the remainder of the round following the re-aggrivation of a small niggle suffered during the previous week’s competition.
Final Score: Lugi 19 – 12 Ronneby.
Game 3 vs. Malmö
Having lost to Malmö twice in the previous round’s games, the team knew that this was not only a big game in terms of determining who went into the day’s final, but also in terms of trying to regain a little of the lost pride from the previous weekend’s defeats.
However, whilst round 2’s games were fairly close, this one turned into a one sided affair in favour of Malmö. Whilst our ladies enjoyed a great deal of possession, protecting the ball well and stringing together multiple phases, they were unable to find a way through the Malmö defence. Whilst the opposition can be commended for their grit without the ball, Lugi only had themselves to look to as it was the team’s inability to get the ball to the space and around the opposition that proved to be decisive.
The first half, although resulting in a 12-0 Malmö lead, was a well played and even affair, with scores only coming off of well taken opportunities, nothing for our girls to be unhappy with. But it was the second half that was to hurt the most from a Lugi perspective as Malmö seemed to go uncontested in their quest to get over the whitewash, eventually running the score up to 31 points in their favour.
With that said, Lugi can be proud of how they finished the game, having finally got around the edge of the oppositions defence with a break from Martina and following some good support play from the rest of the team, Sandra Olofsson was able to dot down over the line to finish the game on a high.
Final Score: Lugi 7 – 31 Malmö.
3rd Place Playoff vs. Ronneby
Whilst the ladies dropped down into the lower half of the final placings matches, it was still all to play for, as in such a tight qualifier, it was key to come away with the 10 points awarded to the 3rd place finisher. Once again the girls faced Ronneby, who had failed to beat us on any occasion so far this season, but had pushed us close earlier in the day.
Again the ladies ended up in a tight and tense match, that saw an early try for Lugi coming through the tough running of Sara Kaminski as she crossed the line from close range. But with Ronneby finished the half strong with their own try, the second half was massive in terms of our SM qualification.
Lugi managed to keep their trend of starting the halves on the front foot when Martina broke through the oppositions line to take the score to 12-5. Unfortunately for Lugi, that was not to be the killing blow, as Ronneby were able to claw themselves to within two points with only minutes to spare, making it anyones game as the clock wound down. However, any worry that the Lugi coaching staff had after Ronneby’s try, was immediately quashed following the kickoff, as a safe recovery by Agnes enabled her to go forward in order to create a nice offload opportunity for the awaiting Cornelia, who stormed 60 meters for the decisive try.
Finals Score: Lugi 17 – 10 Ronneby.
With that, the ladies secured a third place finish and 10 points, leaving us joint top of the table on 42 with Malmö going into the last SM qualifier on the 4th of June in Malmö.
Whilst the ladies place at SM Veckan is not ensured yet, a 3rd place finish in the next round is enough for qualification no matter what happens in the other two regions, whilst a fourth place finish would see us depending on Enköping not winning the next North qualifier to get us to Norrköping. (*disclaimer: this is according to the coaches math skills and interpretation of the qualifier rules, thus not 100% certain).
Since the third half was long and wet, today’s report will be a bit shorter…
Saturday’s game could have become the game that would be called the comeback of the year or even the decade. In the first half Lugi where struggling to keep the defensive line especially when Pingvin shifted the ball across their backline. This resulted in several tries that all were converted.
Not helping in the first half was a yellow card given to myself. No need to take the details, but it was a fair call and stupidly made by me.
After a hard first half that ended 28-0 to Pingvin. In the paus Lugi talked a lot about keep fighting and not giving up. From the sideline it was also clear that Lugis attack was effective as long as we cut out the mistakes.
For the second half most of the bench was subbed in. Its interesting how much easier it is to see the weak points when you are on the sideline. So the new players coming on knew what had to be done to stop the try-machine Pingvin.
In the second half Lugi really fired up and started to play with the passion that the game required. The centers started to put in some serious tackles in the backline which was very effective to stop Pingvin attacking. Lugi also started to stick to the game plan that has been worked on. Several planned moves were executed with accuracy close to perfection. And now this was starting to show on the scoreboard.
In the last play of the game Lugi had the ball and the score was 29-33 in advantage of Pingvin. Lugi worked hard to try once again to steal the candy from the children. Unfortunately Pingvins defense stepped up and the final whistle was blown.
Final score 29-33 to Pingvin.
A round of applause should go to the following:
The two headgeared South Africans who showed how rugby should be played.
The surfer, who makes it look so easy to run around an entire team by yourself.
Björn Davidsson for running the touchflag on the far-side. Its small thing to do, but its a great help to the team!!!
I hate to loose. The only thing that comforted me in this sad moment was the fact that Lugi stepped up big time in the second half and never gave up the game.
Viktor Cordes 2
Anele Gela 1
Jordan Foster 1
Following the ladies success in round 1 of the SM 2016 qualifier, round 2 came around with the team carrying the belief from their previous performances but also knowing that they were no longer going to take the other teams by surprise.
The squad that made the journey to Ronneby had only one extra addition from the team that had travelled to Trelleborg, allowing for a little extra rotation throughout the tournament, and was as follows:
Top Row: Simon Weise (Lugi Ref), Elizabeth Sonnenholzner, Sandra Olofsson, Meliha Mehmeti, Malin Andersson, Cornelia Norén, Ross Watson (Coach)
Bottom Row: Cecile Kaminski, Martina Vivlund, Ozeane Chabrol, Agnes Lindgren, Sara Kaminski
Game 1 vs. Pingvin
With the weather threatening rain, but eventually holding throughout the day, conditions were perfect for rugby as the ladies prepared for their first match against Pingvin, the team they had beaten in the final during the previous round.
Overall, the game was a very scrappy affair, with neither team really being able to play good attacking 7s due to a combination of mistakes as well as perhaps a lack of clear thinking. The games first try eventually came off of a Lugi scrum set around the halfway line and was taken by Martina following simple use of hands and footwork to beat the Pingvin backline. Pingvin eventually returned the favour later on in the first half when the Pingvin 9 found a midfield mismatch and skipped through the line to dot down near the posts to leave the half time score at 5-5.
The half time message to the girls was for the team to calm down, collect itself and get back to basics, which the team took on board to take a lot more control in the second half through more defensive pressure. Second half trys came once again from Vivlund off a scrum place close to Pingvin’s line as well as Sandra Olofsson scoring perhaps the to finish the game following the ball being moved to the wing off a turnover as a good step to the outside to see her in at the corner.
Final Score: Lugi 15 – 5 Pingvin.
Game 2 vs. Ronneby
The day’s second game saw us take on the hosts and once again saw the ladies contest a tight game with neither team really attaining dominant phases of possession. Lugi always looked the most likely to take the spoils, but will be a little disappointed that the scoreboard didn’t reflect the dominance they should have achieved following the standard set in the previous round.
The first impact on the scoreboard was made by the impactful run of Norén off of a Lugi penalty on their own 22, simple hands pushing the ball to one of our big runners and simple footwork seeing her go through a gap and run in from 80 meters out in her home town. Martina added the second Lugi score of the game following some of her own good work at the breakdown before rounding the Ronneby defence and taking us into a 10-0 half time lead.
Ronneby had their chances in the game and on a better day would have won the match if they’d have been more precise in their execution, but in the second half it was Lugi once again who got onto the scoreboard first and once again it came from a simple penalty move and footwork, this time by Agnes Lindgren who gratefully stepped around a girl who was seemingly unwilling to challenge her rampaging run and dancing feet.
However, it was Ronneby who would have the last say in the game following an arcing run by their winger to get on the outside of the Lugi defence before running down the line and scoring under the posts.
Final Score: Lugi 17 – 7 Ronneby.
Game 3 vs. Malmö
Following wins in the opening games, the ladies were guaranteed a spot in the day’s final no matter the result against Malmö. Following two sub-par performances in the other games, the ladies really started to perform and play to the standard they had produced in the previous round, and with Malmö also playing to a high standard, what followed was a very good game of rugby 7s.
Following a even couple of minutes, Lugi eventually broke down Malmö’s left flank through a series of good offloads and solid support play. Once Lugi got near to the opposition’s line, it was another offload that finally unlocked the Malmö defence with Malin scooting over the line following Sara Kaminsky’s work in the tackle. Following the kick-off, Malmö maintained a good spell of possession, and with Lugi unable too force a turnover we eventually became stretched in defence, leading to a couple of good offloads allowing Malmö to break through the middle and score. With time running on in the half, the ladies did well to keep the ball away from the opposition, but soon came a cropper as indecision with the ball in midfield led to a turnover and Malmö getting on the edge of our defence to score once again. The half time score would see Malmö with a slim 12-5 lead.
Shortly after the second half began, the ladies were gifted possession on a penalty after the kick off but quickly gave the ball back to Malmö who once again took good care of the ball, eventually getting the ball to their speedster from 20 meters out and the scoreboard ticked over to 17-5.
In the past, Lugi heads would have dropped at this point, but the girls showed their mettle with a quick reply after a midfield break by Martina eventually forced Malmö into a penalty. From there the ladies showed their abrasive side with some powerful running and Sara Kaminski ending the sequence by carrying three Malmö players over the line from a few meters out to bring the score back to 17-10.
One thing the team must improve on is their ability to refocus and regroup following their own scores, something that affected us in the previous round and once again reared its head in this match. With only seconds on the clock from the ladies pulling to within one score, they found themselves two scores down as Malmö glided around the outside of our defence straight from the kick off in order to score their fourth try of the game.
Even with the outright win looking a little off the cards the ladies still stuck to task, producing a fantastic defensive sequence to keep Malmö at bay and eventually forcing the turnover which Sonnenholzner pounced on with some footballing skills, only being denied a certain try by being tugged back by the last Malmö defender. The referee made the correct decision in awarding the penalty try, bringing an end to a well fought match even if it wasn’t in Lugi’s favour.
Final Score: Lugi 17 – 22 Malmö.
Qualifier Final vs. Malmö
Off the back of a fairly solid day’s rugby, Lugi once again found themselves in the qualifier final with Malmö meeting us there for one more tussle.
Our ladies took the initiative following a lineout near halfway, as Martina took a good short line to break through the Malmö defence and put us 5-0 up in a flash. Once again however, our opposition were afforded the opportunity to strike back after a short kick off lead to a penalty and a well executed set piece saw Malmö get around our defence for their first try and a 5-5 scoreline.
What followed from the Lugi girls was possibly the best passage of play in the entire day, resulting in three phases of possession (with a penalty thrown in) taking the team from their own 10 meter line to over the whitewash. Cornelia Norén once again dotting the ball down as just rewards for her two impactful carries in the sequence.
From there however, there would be no more Lugi scores with Malmö dominating in both possession as well as on the scoreboard. The game would turn on two Malmö kick offs, both being muffed by Lugi and both leading to trys, with our girls being afforded only once chance and being unable to capitalise. As it often is, it was these small margins that make the difference and whilst the girls were rightfully happy to come second, missing out on winning a second qualifier has provided lessons for them to take further in this year’s SM.
Final Score: Lugi 10 – 22 Malmö.
Next week our ladies will be back in action again in the third round of the qualifier in Trelleborg.