Monthly Archives: April 2013

VRK – Lugi Ladies

The first game in this year’s Damer Allsvenskan saw the Lionesses take on Vänersborg RK away from the Lion’s den on a beautifully sunny day for rugby.
Once again international commitments and last minute drop outs conspired against the team and meant that we fielded only 11 players in a game of 12’s, which had the girls behind the eight ball from the start.

This report isn’t going to pull any punches, the game finished with Vänersborg running out winners 104-7, but just reading the score would not do justice to the performance of the 11 girls that took the 700km trip north.

If ever the phrase ’a tale of two halves’ was to be used, it was for this game because whilst the first portion of the contest was a very dissapointing display from the ladies, where they were thoroughly out played by their opposition, the second half gave us a very encouraging and in some ways impressive performance from the girls.

VRK’s early backline play was just too good for their Lugi counterparts, who were one player short out wide, as some strong and direct running from VRK’s inside center really caused problems in defence which meant that Lugi were three scores down before the crowd had settled into their seats. Whilst Elizabeth Sonnenholzner and Malin Carvalho Nejstaard were tackling anything that moved, their team mates were not so keen early in the game, and this meant that VRK broke through Lugi’s line on numerous occasions and were always playing on the front foot making life very easy for the home team.

Early encouragement came through a good break from Catherine Blanc who burst through the middle on a crash and took the ball 30 meters before finding herself in a forest populated by VRK players and not a Lugi in sight, meaning that the team wasn’t able to capitalise on their first true attacking platform. The rest of the first half continued to see VRK dominating as Lugi’s tackling, defence and support around the ruck area was lacklustre leading to Lugi’s line being crossed on numerous occasions.

Despite the nearly insumountable total, the second half saw the Lionesses begin make a vast improvement in all aspects of their game. The level of tackling from the entire team improved dramatically, which really made VRK work for every inch of grass. Captain Emma Lönsjö led from the front and could be seen hunting down numerous players in blue, started to cause some real problems for the opposition around the breakdown and became a real source of inspiration for the team as demonstrated by winger Rebecka McCarthy who single headedly cleared out three VRK players in a critical ruck near Lugi’s try line.

No matter what the standard of play, being down by so many points would see many teams give up the ghost and not play, but the Lugi Lionesses are not a normal team. Their play throughout the second half never saw the give an inch that VRK didn’t earn as the defensive work was stellar and unforgiving and the contest up front was much more even and overall a more watchable spectacle.

Eventually Lugi were rewarded for their hard work. When a series of well put together phases put VRK under a lot of pressure they gave away a penalty from 25 meters out. The opportunity was seized upon by Blanc who’s tap and run saw her shaking a couple of tackles and finding herself with enough open grass to score under the posts and add the extras herself.

At the end of the day the result on the scoreboard was a big disappointment for the girls, but upon reflection the second half performance was a real source of encouragement and a gave the team a glimpse of what they are capable of when they put their minds to the task and do the basics correct. This report may have picked our a few specific names but all 11 players on the day should be commended for their second half effort and dedication to the cause.

Squad: Lina Adeen, Catherine Blanc, Jorun Borggren, Ann Gustavsson, Emma Lönsjö, Rebecka McCarthy, Malin Carvalho Nejstaard, Kristina Petersson, Linnea Roslund Elizabeth Sonnenholzner and Anna Thynell.

Lioness of the Match: Catherine B., Malin CN. and Emma L.

(written by Ross Watson)

Lugi Ladies SM 7-aside

On a sunny day in Trelleborg, Lugi’s famous ladies team took the short car journey down south to compete in the southern portion of Sweden’s sevens qualification series. The girls group consisted of a newly established team in Kalmar and the old rivals Göteborg, who Lugi fell to in the final of the Håckes Cup. Due to international commitments and a few other excursions, the team was not quite at full strength, but also meant that the side was able to blood some new talent.

The Lionesses played the days first game against Kalmar and whilst the opposition was young and fairly inexperienced, they did not lack in athleticism and showed some decent rugby in the first half whilst being aided slightly by some dubious refereeing, allowing Kalmar’s ladies over for the first try of the game. The second half saw the girls get their act together and start to produce some better rugby, leading to them taking control of the game and putting points on the board through both Jorun Borggren and Emma Lönsjö and closing the game out with a 10-5 victory.

The second, and final, group game came against the perennial favourites Göteborg, who were fresh and playing in their first game of the day. Poor scheduling and a little confusion meant that the warm up conducted was less than adequate, but nevertheless, the girls put their game faces on and took to the pitch. Unfortunately, the Lionesses came out flat and the gap in tournament experience showed as Göteborg eased into an early lead and never really looked under threat. The second half saw the girls come out with a lot more fighting spirit and determination to produce, and whilst the second half was a much tighter affair, Lugi were still unable to cross the whitewash and when the final whistle came the scoreboard read Göteborg 36 – Lugi 0.

The small group sizes and the fifty percent win rate meant that the girls had qualified for the cup semi final which was to be played against Vänesborg, a team who had been dispatched twice by Lugi in the Håckes Cup. The result this time was quite different as Vänesborg ran out winners 29-5. Once again the team was under pressure from the beginning after conceding early and never truly recovered, the only moment of glory came through the strong running of Martina Vivlund after some slick team play.

Despite the loss the girls had a final chance to take home some silverware as they faced off against the host club in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Pingvin came into the game with the same record as Lugi having beat Mälmo and lost to both Vänesborg and Göteborg. The Lionesses came out determined and asserted themselves early on in the game with Vivlund once again being the beneficiary of some nice backline play to go over under the posts. From there however, the game descended into a scrappy affair and was once again hindered by some poor calls from the middle, meaning that the style of game was more favourable for the home side. Despite another Lugi score through Catherine Blanc, poor organisation in defence let the girls down as Pingvin scored two trys themselves and by adding the extras for both ran out 14-12 winners.

Despite the disappointment at the end, the tournament as a whole was a valuable learning experience for both new and old girls, with the newer girls getting to see what it takes to go out and compete against some of the hungrier, more experienced sides, whilst the more experienced Lionesses have seen that past success does not guarantee anything in the present. The girls will look to build from this and will go on the road to compete in their first “15s” game of the season against Vänesborg this weekend.

Squad: Lina Adeen, Maria Alvarez, Catherine Blanc, Jorun Boggren, Chloe Chardon, Emma Lönsjö, Rebeka McCarthy, Malin Carvalho Nejstgaard Linnea Roslund, Anna Thynell, Martina Vivlund.

(by Ross Watson)