Ladies Win SM Plate

Written by on July 13, 2016

Following the ladies successfully SM qualification campaign in which a third place finish in the Southern group qualified them for group B of the SM finals, our girls were in Norrköping last weekend to compete for the top spots in Swedish 7s rugby.

Our group pitted us against local rivals Malmö as well as Vänersborg from the West and Stockholm Exiles from the northern group, a tough group with the team having a relatively mixed history in terms of past results against each of their opponents. For this group of Lugi Ladies, it was their first SM as a unit and was always seen as a building block towards future competitions.

The team was as follows (from top left);

Ross Watson (coach), Elizabeth Sonnenholzner, Agnes Lindgren, Sara Kaminski, Linnéa Roslund, Cecile Kaminski.

Sandra Olofsson, Meliha Mehmeti, Malin Andersson, Martina Vivlund, Cornelia Norén.

Ladies New tops

The Saturday opened with the girls taking on eventual finalists Vänersborg in the blazing heat of midday, in what was considered to be one of our winnable matches. Unfortunately, it appeared that nerves and the opposition got the better of the girls as any semblance of the gameplay appeared to be thrown out of the window from the kickoff and the ensuing battles at the breakdown were inevitably won by the more physical Vänersborg team. Lugi hung tough despite the early scores by the opposition, but with a lack of execution in attack or pressure in defence Vänersborg eventually ran out as comfortable winners 20-5.

Following the disappointment of the first game, the team took on group favourites Stockholm Exiles who, despite having numerous girls away on national duty, were still  very strong, physical outfit. Despite the relatively short rest between the games, our girls came out and put in a much stronger performance, creating some good opportunities to take command of the game in the first half. Despite these chances it was Exiles who took a 10-0 lead following Lugi mistakes at the lineout and defensively from a penalty. The girls would finish the first half strongly after a sustained period of pressure and nifty handling work saw Agnes go over to leave the half time score at 10-5.

However, the second half saw the Exiles step it up a gear, controlling the ball well and never letting our girls find the rhythm they had built at the end of the first half, putting a further three trys past us to take the final score to 25-5.

With the prospects of making the cup semi-finals very slim, the girls went into the Saturday’s final game against Malmö with nothing to lose, and motivated by a chance to get one over on our rivals who had beaten Vänersborg 12-7 earlier in the day.

The game our ladies produced was light years apart from what they had displayed earlier in the day, executing the game plan well and working so hard that we blew the opposition off the pitch. For a team that we’ve had back and forth battles against all year, to beat them so comfortably really proved to the team what was possible if they executed what had been worked on in training. First half trys came from Meliha, Martina and Sandra, with Meliha crossing over for one more in the second half. Whilst Malmö scored one on the very last play of the game, it was merely a small blip on the dominance of the Lugi performance for all 14 minutes.

With a win in the last game, the girls finished third in the group behind surprise group winners Vänersborg and Exiles in second, setting us up for a plate semi-final against the bottom of group A, Kalmar.

The fortune of coming third on the Saturday, meant a slightly later kick off for our ladies against a Kalmar team that had struggled with numbers on the Saturday, but had been bolstered by some late reinforcements come Sunday morning.

The big positive for our girls was that they started exactly how they had finished the previous day, controlling play for large periods of the first half with plenty of defensive and attacking pressure. First half trys came from Martina spotting a game following a lineout and and a opportunist Meliha displaying her footballing skills following some Kalmar handling errors.

Meliha carriedThe second half started much like the first, with an early try coming from Martina following a quickly taken penalty. From there however, Lugi’s luck began to turn. Firstly an error on our kick off lead to Kalmar securing a quick score and pulling the game back to 19-7 before tragically, a tackle ended Meliha’s weekend in a broken leg mere minutes later. This was naturally a low moment of the weekend as the team lost one of the girls that had really stepped up and shined, something that became apparent when she picked up both the players’ player and coaches’ player award. Fortunately Meliha is ok and should heal quickly.

 

The rest of the game became a very nervy affair for the ladies as Kalmar really started to gain some self-belief and began to control the second half’s proceedings. When they pulled the score back to 19-12 with around minute left on the clock, the game looked like it had a chance to going to extra time with the way Kalmar had been playing, fortunately however, the refs whistle drew an end to proceedings before the girls in blue could add any more scores.

With the win, the ladies earned themselves a long rest and a spot in the plate semi-final against the old foe Malmö.

Note: No footage of the final game due to our cameraman helping Meliha at the hospital.

The last game our the 7s year would see us having a chance of silverware in the plate final against Malmö, a team that we had managed to handle easily the day before, but one that everyone knew would come out firing after the smarting they had received in our group match.

The message to the team before they ran out was to dig deep and push themselves past wall they would eventually hit after four intense games of 7s. On this front they delivered with aplomb. Once again, the execution of the game plan and the high work rate proved far too much for Malmö, with our defensive pressure forcing them into mistakes and our width in attacking making them work very hard to defend us. First half trys were scores by Elizabeth and Martina put us into the driving seat, and once the team had established themselves, they never looked like relenting having taken the lesson from our previous game against Kalmar.

Whilst Malmö fought hard, they were unable to constantly threaten with the ball, only scoring once with a few minutes to go, whilst Lugi managed to go over twice more in the second through Sandra and Martina. Final score Lugi 24 – 5 Malmö and a plate coming home to Lund!

Plate Win

 

Ladies Qualify for SM Finals

Written by on June 6, 2016

Ladies Team Photo - Roneby

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.

Match Report: Ladies Win SM Round 1 Qualifier

Written by on April 24, 2016

With a long pre-season behind them it was finally time for the ladies to take on the rugby season’s premier 7s competition, SM 2016. With the new format across the country splitting Sweden up into North, West and South regions for qualifying places into the SM finals, the Lugi ladies have been pitted against Pingvin, Malmö and Ronneby in a series of four qualifying rounds.

Round one was to played in Trelleborg, home of the qualifiers number 1 ranked team, Pingvin, with Malmö ranked 2, Ronneby 3 and our ladies ranked 4th. With rankings based on various factors from last season, there was nothing for the ladies to be aggrieved about, but it certainly added a little more juice to the qualifier.

So, on a sunny Saturday in Skåne, Lugi set off down south with a squad of 9 girls, built around a growing core of experienced players and supplemented with a few new faces. The team sheet read as follows:

Top Row: Cecile Kaminski, Meliha Mehmeti, Malin Andersson, Sara Kaminski, Ross Watson (Coach)

Bottom Row: Sandra Olofsson, Martina Vivlund, Cornelia Nóren, Océane Chabrol, Elizabeth Sonnenholzner. 

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Game 1 vs. Pingvin

The ladies first game came against the hosts, Pingvin, which would provide us with a good measuring stick for how we would fair on the day. The girls started off well and capitalised on Pingvin mistakes to get themselves close to the home team’s line before Elizabeth broke over from close range with some strong running. The advantage would not be held for long however, after poor tackling from the ensuing kick off allowed a line break and a offload to see Pingvin in under the posts. Unperturbed, the ladies hit right back following a fantastic break from Sandra Olofsson, who’s run was well supported by both Martina and Elizabeth, leading to her slightly wayward pass being collected and taken in by Sonnenholzner for the score.

So far the story of the game had been about the porosity of the defence from both sides and Pingvin’s next possession didn’t break the trend, as following a lack of Lugi defensive pressure and a series of nice offloads, the home team went over yet again under the posts.

The Lugi ladies were also first to strike in the second half, as a penalty move straight off of the training ground was perfectly executed and allowed Martina to finish off the try with some strong running. Once again though, the positives for Lugi were evened out with a lack of defensive execution as Pingvin hit straight back, getting around the edge of the Lugi defence to score the last and decisive try of the game. The end result was an even game of three trys apiece, but decided by just one kick.

Following the game, the whole team was very pleased with their performance and the loss felt more like a win, having put on some good rugby and started strong. Our weakness in defence was identified and the team resolved to improve on it going forward.

Final Score: Lugi 17 – Pingvin 19

Game 2 vs. Malmö

Following their strong performance at Håckes Cup, our local rivals Malmö were always going to be strong contenders in the Southern qualifying pool. This contest opened up a lot tougher and tighter than our first game, with our tackling up to the expected standard and Malmö matching us. The ladies defensive pressure, which was so lacking in the first game, was the key to the opening score in game 2, as our defence smothered Malmös backs near their own line, eventually causing a turnover through a fumbled ball and Olofsson being quick to gather and score. Malmö then enjoyed a good spell of possession, albeit deep in their own half, keeping the ball tight around the ruck and working the blind before finally getting the ball wide to their speedster, who was able to get on the outside of our defence to get over the line for the score. Despite the disappointment of allowing their key player on our outside, the defensive chase to deny an easy two point conversion was an exemplary note of the team effort and work that has been developed over recent seasons.

In previous seasons, the ladies play has been marred by drops in confidence and an inability to respond following opposition scores. Therefore, on of the day’s big positives was the team’s ability to stick to the gameplay and play the full 14 minutes as if it was 0-0. Following Malmös score, our ladies were able to hit back with aplomb after Olofsson made a great break after a scrum won against the head, and took us deep into Malmö territory. The score was finished off by the day’s Player’s Player, Meliha, who spotted the space blind off the ensuing breakdown and ran down the line to take Lugi ahead 10-5.

From there the game evened up, with both teams enjoying a fair amount of possession and having attacking phases quashed by a mixture of good defence and errors. With a game that could have gone either way with only a single try in it, it was Lugi that finished the game off after Malmö gave away a penalty on their own 22, allowing Sonnenholzner to execute a near perfect chip and chase and see herself over the line on the last play.

Final Score: Lugi 15 – Malmö 5

Game 3 vs. Ronneby

The ladies final pool game came against a team that has slowly been on the rise in the south, and who are no longer to be taken lightly following a series of good results in recent tournaments. A win in this final pool game would give our girls a shot in the qualifier final against Pingvin.

After a spluttering start to the game from both teams, Lugi’s defensive pressure once again earned them a score, this time for Ronneby native Cornelia, who scooped up a Sonnenholzner offload to cross the whitewash. The following muffed kick-off and swarming Lugi defence allowed Elizabeth to get a score of her own and go under the posts following a nice step. With Ronneby looking a little deflated and following a series of mistakes near their own line, Martina was able to crash over for score number three following a close range penalty and a slick offload out the back from Sonnenholzner.

With the Lion’s tails up in the second half the play started to really flow and the girls once again got rewarded for their willingness to work in support of one another in the form of multiple offloads going to hand down the right flank before the ball finally landed into the arms of Vivlund on the wing, who tip-toed her way down the line for another score. The final high note of the game came from our flying French winger Océane, who found herself rewarded for her excellent support during the whole day as she finished off nicely following some slick hands and offload off a Ronneby turnover.

The remainder of the game served as a warning for the team, as attacking shape began to be lost and the girls fought a lot of their battles around the breakdown instead of out wide, leading to a scrappy finally quarter. Nonetheless, the ladies had deservedly put themselves through to the final and were happy with the rugby they had produced and their smothering defensive effort.

Final Score: Lugi 27 – Ronneby 0

Game 4, Final vs. Pingvin

Having secured themselves a place in the final, the Lugi Lions found themselves up against the team that had seen them off in the day’s opening game. The ladies confidence in themselves and their rugby had been building throughout the day and they were ready to take on the home team and the crowd in what promised to be an interesting encounter.

Similar to game one, the ladies got off to a flyer as following a scrum in our own half, Martina was able to take advantage of a slip in Pingvin’s midfield to go 80 meters untouched for the score. If ever there was an omen that this was the ladies final to take, it came on the ensuing conversion attempt as Martina’s conversion received a solid helping hand from the crossbar to get the ball over and take Lugi 7-0 in the lead.

Despite the good fortune, things got wobbly in the following minutes for Lugi as Pingvin pressure and a lack of handling execution saw the girls pushed back from the opposition’s 22 to nearly conceding at their own end on multiple occasions, saved only by some last ditch tackling and Pingvin handling errors.

It was said handling errors that allowed Lugi to get the opening score of the second half, as good awareness and work on the ground from Meliha allowed Martina to take advantage of an open blindside to run in for the score and take us to 14-0. With the minutes beginning to tick away, Pingvin started to exert some pressure on the Lugi line following a well placed clearance kick. Eventually this pressure from the white and black of the home team saw them over in the corner following a blindside move from an attacking scrum, clawing the score back to 14-5.

With only a minute left in the game, the hammer blow was delivered by Lugi following some mazy running by Mehmeti off the kick-off softened up the defence enough for Cornelia to put on a nice step and strong run to break the Pingvin line, before showing a clean pair of heels for the score.

With the score standing at 21-5, the game was dead and buried and our girls rightly celebrated an excellent qualifier win!

Final Score: Lugi 21 – Pingvin 5

Following a very successful day, the team was quite rightly overjoyed and thoroughly pleased with some of the rugby that was produced, but realised that there are plenty of aspects of their game that can be improved on and more hard work needs to be put in to up their game before the next round, which is sure to prove even more competitive. More than anything it showed the team the rewards that can be reaped from hard work and dedication on the training field and has given them a long awaited qualifier win.

Finally, a big thank you should be given to Pingvin for an impeccably run qualifier and all the teams involved for a great day of competitive games.

Team Awards

Player’s Player – Meliha Mehmeti

Newbie – Océane Chabrol

Coaches’ Player – Whole Team

Point Totals

M. Vivlund – 35

E. Sonnenholzer – 20

C. Norén – 10

M. Mehmeti – 5

S. Olofsson – 5

O. Chabrol – 5

 

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