However much you love rugby, a 5:45 alarm call on a Saturday morning is always hard. We had a squad of 8 forwards and 2 backs heading all the way to CERN and it’s water-logged pitch for the fourth and final Super 7’s tournament of the season.
First up was Bern, who we narrowly beat twice in last weekend’s tournament. The slippery conditions gave both teams handling problems and the scores ended-up tied 5-5 after an intercept try by each team. It was a proper, muddy battle and a reminder of how tough the rest of the day was going to be with 3 or 4 matches in close succession in the afternoon. We had a long break and could watch Bern play against both Basel & Monthey and so knew exactly what we had to do to top our group in our last 2 games. We played those games with just a 15 minute break between them but still managed to beat Basel 37-0 and Monthey 45-0 to beat Bern to first place in the group with 6 points better difference! Unfortunately Iris hurt her calf muscle badly in the game v. Basel and could take no further part in the tournament.
Only ~40 minutes break before our semi-final v. Zurich. We started well, continuing our really strong tackling which was the hallmark of our pool games and went ahead by a couple of tries. As we tired, our tackling in the middle of the pitch began to let us down a little and twice we let a strong Zurich runner through practically untouched. The game finished 19-19 (I think; whatever the score, it was tied) and so we went to sudden-death extra time: 2 x 2 mins. Both teams were absolutely exhausted but were fighting with every ounce of energy and neither one of us could score in these 2 halves. And so … we do it all over again; 2 x 2 mins of sudden-death extra time (I have no idea what would have happened after that; the Zurich captain & I suggested a boat-race to the referee instead of all this playing but he was not interested). The game continued with half-breaks and desperate tackles and tired bodies … after what seemed like MUCH longer than 2 minutes, Sarah Stuart burst through a tackle in midfield and went streaking down the pitch; looking all set to score. The Zurich wing dug deep to find some energy from I don’t know where and came across to close in to make the cover tackle; Sarah drew her across and managed to get the ball away to TazMac who had an easy run to the line. What a game!
Preparation for the final was difficult after both the physical and mental exertion of the semi-final. Knowing that we had already secured the championship, we could only go out and enjoy playing 7’s in the sunshine for probably the first time this season! The final was tough. We played with 100% effort & concentration from the first whistle to the last but our tired legs simply couldn’t react quickly enough to close-down the fast Bern winger as we had done earlier in the day. Bern’s passing game was excellent and they ran-out very worthy winners of this tournament to secure 2nd place in the overall championship also.
The whole squad of players & coaches should be extremely proud about winning this title. It was a real fight. The first Super 7’s tournament in Luzern was relatively easy; a big squad, home advantage, happy days. All 3 other tournaments have been a real battle: 8 players, half of them sick went to Nyon to play 7’s in the snow; in Bern last weekend the comeback in the final v. Bern was incredible and the semi-final this weekend was pure determination.
Angel of the Day: TazMac for a bucketful of tries, being there to support for the winning try v. Zurich and mostly for trotting back to midfield at a very leisurely pace when the team most needed a breather J
Devil of the Day: Karen for an outrageously far forward pass that saved a try (and in fact saved the match v. Bern) and almost wasn’t spotted by the ref.
Next-up: our final 15’s matches of the season v. Bern and Zurich away.