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)