Saturday, April 27th. Swiss Super 7’s Round #3. Not a break in the clouds in sight. 6 degrees. Raining. Actually the best weather of the 3 7’s tournaments this season!
We were disappointed to find that Zurich did not have enough players to field 2 teams on the day and therefore we only had 3 pool games against Yverdon, Bern & Basel. We started strongly against Yverdon with good lines of running & pace to spare we took a handy lead @ half-time. A few bad decisions in the 2nd half found us pinned back near our try line but we finally managed to break-free to score & relieve the pressure (with the Bern players shouting from the side-line “Why can’t you catch her; she’s 38!!). Starting the day with a 40+ point victory is always nice and really brought out our inner-sunshine J
We expected the Bern game to be the toughest of the pool and it proved to be so. We started really strongly in defense with everyone making big hits and forcing turnovers. We looked threatening in attack but were not quite clinical enough to finish most of our chances. Nevertheless our try line didn’t really look threatened and we ran out winners 12-10.
After a long, cold break we squared-up against Basel in the final pool game and played strongly in both attack & defense to produce a clinical 22-0 victory.
The semi-final was against Cern Wildcats who had narrowly missed out on first place in their group with a 14-10 loss to Zurich having won their other 3 games easily. We were in pretty flowing form and out-paced and out-powered the Wildcats 36-0.
Bern beat Zurich in the other semi-final to set-up a chance for revenge in the final. We knew how much they would want to beat us in front of their home crowd and they are a side bursting with pace, power & skill. We started the game well, retaining possession and moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other but the Bern defense was impenetrable they started to win some turnovers and were lethal on the counter-attack; spreading the ball quickly to their speedsters to score 3 tries in quick succession, leaving us 15-0 down after just a few minutes. We managed to take a collective deep breath, re-focus and concentrate on playing our game: hard defense and taking them on first in the middle before spreading it wide. We got the try we needed before half-time to settle our nerves & Lolli duly converted to leave us 15-7 down @ half-time and fully confident we could win. We applied relentless pressure both with & without the ball in the second half and scored 2 more converted tries to take the lead 21-15. With little time left to play, Bern broke down their right wing and there was nothing that several pairs of very tired Luzern legs could do to catch her. 21-20 in the lead, but Bern finally made a conversion to take a one point lead 22-21. The pressure was intense and honestly, I can’t even remember what happened except that suddenly Esti was clear through the middle of the Bern defense with more than half of the pitch left to cover; she sped clear of any cover to score between the posts. The referee’s timer went off as Lolli lined up to make her 4th successful conversion kick which were in the end the difference between the two teams; Happy Birthday Carole!
Probably the most satisfying victory I have ever been involved in. To come back from 3 tries down and take the lead, to fall behind again and find the strength to score again; all in-front of the opposition home crowd: pure joy!
We know that we’ve truly played well when Chris cries post-match: it was a good day J