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.
M. Vivlund – 22
C. Norén – 10
E. Sonnenholzer – 7
M. Andersson – 5
S. Olofsson – 5
A. Lindgren – 5
S. Kaminski – 5