Finnish women’s 7’s rugby team played during 16-17.7 at the European championship with 11 other top European countries in Bucharest, Romania. Finland had the opportunity to beat Moldova, but this time luck was on Moldovan side, and the final result was tight 10-19 loss for Finland. More experienced rugby countries such as Russia, Holland and France, who played in the same pool also turned out to be too tough to beat. Even though Finland succeeded in scoring points at Sunday’s rank matches against neighbouring Sweden and the host Romania, it was not enough and both countries took the victory, leaving Finland to settle for the final place at the tournament. England took the champion title by winning Spain in the final.

According to the captain Minna Raatikka, it was one the toughest 7’s tournaments of her career. A few annoying injuries as well as a persistent gastrointestinal disease weakened the team’s strengths. The pre-set goal – final placement at top 10 – was not reached, but the players learned a lot during the tournament. Raatikka assures that the team continues forward with a smile.

The main differences between Finland and the top countries are in moving on the pitch with and without the ball. Head Coach Lauri Ylönen emphasizes that the Finnish team still needs a lot more experience on aggressive and hard-paced rugby game. The tournament was, however, a good indicator of the level of rugby in Finland and gave the Finnish team guidelines for setting new objectives in future.

Rugby 7’s is a newer and faster form of rugby. There are seven players per team on the pitch. The game is well suited to sporty Finnish women. 7’s rugby will be also played in the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Match results:

16.7

Finland vs. Russia, 0-41

Finland vs. Portugal, 0-27

Finland vs. Moldova, 10-19

Finland vs. France, 7-43

17.7

Finland vs. the Netherlands, 0-34

Rank matches

Finland vs. Sweden, 5-24

Finland vs. Romania, 10-40

7’s national team in Romania (from top left): Henri Tyrväinen (team manager), Anna Soiluva, Minna Raatikka (captain), Rea Siikavirta, Niina Kärkäs, Virpi Sironen, Jani Parkkinen (physio), Juuli Suominen, Emmi Laine, Heta Lampinen, Karoliina Levy, Kati Miettinen ja Lauri Ylönen (head coach).

This post is also available in: Finnish