Another good day of 7s in Skåne. In the Men´s tournament the expected finalists were confirmed to be Exiles and Wexiö, but not before both had their problems against Göteborg and Enköping respectively in the semis. Exiles were down 7 – 0 and 12 – 7 as yet another referee handed out yellow cards for insignificant offenses. Exiles had six men for one third of the game and it was then they conceded their two tries. Like most of the games it was stop-start rugby with referees´ decisions determining the run of play. Göteborg played well, however and deserved their place in the semis. Exiles finally won 19 – 12 without impressing. In the second semi Enköping spent most of the first half in the Wexiö 22, but solid tackling kept them out. Then it was the Melander show again with the brothers running away for three tries to give a final score which did not reflect the run of play. And so on to the final with Exiles methodical build-up versus Wexiö´s inspirational break-aways.
But in the final the Wexiö speed machine came unstuck. Exiles proved to be just as fast as the Melanders and also created enough space to go over for four converted tries. Sean Burke had a superb game, bringing down the Wexiö fast men and running away for two tries of his own. Matt Mitchell, now returning from injury, also had a fine tournament
The Ladies´ tournament had four teams who all seemed about the same standard, but in the first semi Exiles seemed to have run out of steam and were outplayed by the strongly supported home team Malmö. They were 19 – 0 up at half-time and Exiles never really got into the game. Final score a deserved win for Malmö, 24 – 7. The other semi was, as expected, a much tighter affair. Pingvin maintained the same standard as when they lost narrowly to Exiles the day before and in another exciting game beat Vänersborg by the only score, 5 – 0. The final two games confirmed how close the teams were. Vänersborg led Exiles for most of the game for third place but with one last desperate effort Exiles got their noses in front to win 12 – 10 and take the bronze medals. This score was repeated in the final when Pingvin took a 12 – 0 lead but only just held on to beat Malmö 12 – 10.
The tournament in Malmö seems on the whole to have been a great success and the matches shown on TV should have been a good advertisement for the sport. The matches as a whole were played in a very good spirit and apart from the absolutely awful English commentator, I´m sure a good time was had by all.
I would make a couple of comments about the referees who obviously tried hard to run matters professionally. There were very wide differences in interpretation of the laws, something which was quite apparent in the HSBC series this year as well. Some referees blew for a penalty after almost every passage of play and others gave yellow cards every time someone ducked their head into the opposition, thus creating a “high tackle”. Some referees never played the advantage rule while others did. I know there is a school of thought that thinks the players much prefer a penalty to the advantage rule being played, but this was not applied consistently. Matters to be discussed and some sort of consensus to be arrived at. Exiles struggled against Enköping and could have lost against Göteborg while, when play was allowed to flow, they beat the other three teams including the silver medalists by a total of 130 – 0.