It’s been about a month since the disappointing defeat to Bosnia and still the wounds are sore. It felt like getting a life sentence for stealing a candy bar as we were punished the few times we did not dominate the play. Sport is harsh like that and the quicker we learn the better.

But, there were so many positives from that game it points to a brighter future for the team.

One of the highlights for me was proof of the growing depth of our squad. The team had some key changes compared to the side in Greece – a new 10 and changes to the back row amongst them – and all those coming in more than justified their selection. Most importantly, the team continued to work as a unit and in some areas of play looked even stronger than before.
The competition this creates for places is the best thing that can happen to any side. Nobody can take their place for granted and as people push harder for a shirt, so the level of the team will improve.
It also shows those outside of the squad that the door is never closed ……

The championship season kicks off this weekend (Division 1 started last week) and this is where it starts for all international players – club rugby. Nearly all of the Finland team play their rugby here, in the Finnish Championship and its the only place to truly test yourself with and against the best in the country. International games are an honour, but club rugby is still the most important part of any player’s season.
The growing quality of the Finland squad has a lot to do with the work at club level finding and developing players so its really exciting to see what the coaches and players have to show us this year.

Whichever team comes out on top, I expect the season will create a real fight for starting shirts in the next international games – so bring it on !

PS – Best of luck to the Women’s 7s team this weekend, playing in the European Championships in Bratislava. We are all proud of you …. hyvää Suomi !!

This post is also available in: Finnish