After an undistinguished season last year, Exiles are looking towards the future with considerable confidence. Last year started off well with a very successful trip to the Cape Town Tens but Ian Gowland broke a leg and this was followed by a long list of injuries to senior players. Training was affected and the small number of league games meant that our members started to develop other interests. We lost two games for the first time in many years, albeit by very narrow margins and although we retained our Swedish title for the sixth year in a row, there was never really a feeling that we had moved into top gear. The Ladies lost two of their best players who moved to England and this undoubtedly contributed to a narrow defeat in the Swedish Championship final, although they won the 7s title.
This year training has got off to a good start with large turnouts and the players in general at present look fitter than last year. Training is high intensity with passes zipping about all over the place. Almost all our regular players are back and as always we have half a dozen players who turn up in Stockholm and call us. As usual there are one or two of them who aspire to getting into the first team. One of the positive aspects this year is the fact that the Swedish Men´s 7 are playing in an extended Grand Prix. Training seems to be going well and in addition to four GP-weekends there are also two or three preparatory tournaments. These will be in Ireland, Italy and probably the Copenhagen Sevens. Exiles have 10 players training hard for the GP and we are hoping that at least six will make the final 12. This will mean that many key players will miss most of the season until the beginning of September. Exiles accept this and are actively encouraging our players to try to make the 7s squad. To compensate for these losses we have brought in a few players from abroad: a New Zealander, a South African and a Georgian. We will still have a strong first team even when the 7s players are occupied elsewhere. In addition our newcomers and imports will ensure our team is as strong as ever
The European XV-a-side season for 2017/2018 will be completed with two games in the next few weeks. Sweden will almost certainly remain at the Conference 1 N level, but a new tournament will begin in the Autumn. Almost all of you will know that there has been a clear-out in the board of the Swedish Union and it is hoped that the lukewarm support for the Swedish XV-a-side team will be replaced by a more positive approach. Exiles will support such developments and call upon all potential international players to answer the call if and when it comes. Sweden should be at least one level higher in Europe and Exiles are keen to ensure that the first steps in that direction are taken in the Autumn. Exiles have three players in the squad for the approaching matches against Lithuania and Latvia but should have far more.
Exiles have also decided to take the club to the World Championships in Japan next year. This will involve a major undertaking from everyone in the club and the message is being spread that it is those who make a significant contribution who will be the first on the plane. Let´s hope that everyone rises to the occasion both on and off the field.
Rugby in Sweden is not in good shape at present and the new board will be faced with a massive task. The league structure is very weak and all three of the Exiles teams (two H one D) will have a limited number of games in the Spring. A further worry is that work on the new Skarpnäck pitches is far behind schedule and an alternative may have to be found for the start of the season. Exiles Men will have a team-building trip to Copenhagen this weekend when they will play the Danish champions Fredriksberg. A number of players will be missing including Theo Karlsson involved in a Swedish XV-a-side training camp but a strong team will be on show including many of out Sevens stars. The other strong Danish team, Speed, were heavily beaten in a similar pre-season friendly some few years ago and Exiles will be hoping to hit top form early this year as well. Playing in Div. 2 Mälardalen, the Babas will not be facing terribly strong opposition and they will be planning to move back to Div. 1 next year.
The girls have been training well with good numbers and will once again start off against modest opposition in the North.
Allan has stepped down as supremo for the Tens after 25 years and the always energetic Jennifer has token over. Entries are rolling in and we are hoping for the usual success in August.
25 spelare inför Litauen/Lettland
Kalmar S. 0
Jag vänder mig till SRF´s nya styrelse med en vädjan. Vi kan inte fortsätta att spela i Europa med B-betonade lag som detta! Här finns inte fler än 8 – 9 spelare som platsar i vår bästa 23-manna uppsättning.
Dorking RFC är en framgångsrik amatörförening utanför London som spelar i en av Londonserierna, dvs den 5:e eller 6:e nivån i engelsk rugby. De ligger f.n. sjuan i serien av 14 deltagande lag. Enligt uppgift skall Sverige spela mot Dorking den 14 april. Men det blir nog inte deras första lag då Dorking har en seriematch mot Sidcup den dagen.