For the first time in many years Swedish rugby will see 10 matches on a Saturday; 5 from the male Allsvenskan, 3 from the female one and 2 from Div. 1.
In the male North, Hammarby will meet Exiles for the second week in a row, while in what is undoubtedly match of the day Troján will host Enköping. In the South it´s another Skåne derby with Pingvin again meeting Malmö, Göteborg travelling to Vänersborg and, perhaps most interestingly Lugi guesting Spartacus.
In Div 1, Berserkers welcome Uppsala, while Exiles B make the long trip down to Kalmar Södra.
When it comes to the Ladies, in the South Skåne have their long trip up to Vänersborg while in the North it´s Enköping – Hammarby and Uppsala Berserkers – Exiles.
Exiles match against Hammarby is unlikely to produce a different result from last week. The current champions are, however, gradually moving into top gear and will hope to score heavily. The match in Norrköping is harder to judge. Troján scored 21 tries in their match against a substandard Hammarby. The match included some not bad interpassing and offloading, but it is difficult to judge how they would fare against a resolute defence. Enköping snatched a narrow win against Exiles with one try after a grubber kick and a mix-up in the defence. A penalty in their favour less than every three minutes in the second half helped them to move just ahead. They did, however, have a strong defence which will test Troján. Enköping did not field a terribly strong team against Exiles, their pack especially was struggling throughout. They also seemed to have a couple of players missing and a number out of position. Unless they can strengthen this week I think they could well find it difficult to beat Troján away when the latter have close to their best team. It is likely to be a close game, however, possibly decided by penalties. I would like to think the match will be resolved on the field of play rather than being based on personal Law interpretations by the referee.
In the South, Pingvin will now play Malmö for the second time. This will in all probability mean another 50-pointer. Pingvin has after many decades moved to a new arena at Gylle which they share with a football club. In the future the kommun will provide a new rugby stadium for Pingvin. Hopefully, the new pitch will satisfy the normal size requirements. It has always been pleasant to visit Pilevallen, Pingvin have had the best set-up and support in the country. But it cannot be denied that the small size of the pitch has created problems for visiting teams.
Similarly, Göteborg can blow hot and cold but there is no reason why they should not win comfortably away to the current Vänersborg. Lugi will travel to Spartacus with two wins in the bag while Spartacus lost narrowly to Göteborg. Spartacus should just have the edge but they will have to have a sharper attack than against Göteborg. If my forecasts are correct, then we could have Pingvin with three wins, while the two teams from Gothenburg and Lugi will each have two wins and a loss. Still all to play for.
Uppsala in Div 1 had not a bad team last week and should prove too strong for Berserkers who have yet to put in an appearance this season. It´s not easy to persuade social, second-team players to make a round-trip of 800 km for a weekend game. We´ll see who Exiles B can get together for the trip to Kalmar, but the home team are likely to be favourites. This is of course Swedish rugby at present: the less teams the longer distances to travel which leads to even less teams.
We´ve only seen one match so far in the Ladies´ SM where two of the three teams in the South have met. Both teams shaped up quite well and the points difference perhaps exaggerated the gap between Göteborg and Vänersborg, Now Skåne Ladies appear on the scene. Only five teams turned up in 2020 due to Covid and Skåne got to the final but were well beaten by Enköping. Where they stand now when they meet Vänersborg away I´ve really no idea. Enköping are the current champions but the title last year was a bit of a joke as half their team was good players borrowed from other clubs. They should nevertheless prove far too strong for Hammarby who are still at the beginner´s stage. Finally, Exiles kick off a 3-match schedule at Gubbängen against Uppsala Berserkers. Exiles didn´t do badly in the 7s despite being short of 3-4 players on holiday (remember the date of the finals was changed). Now they seem much stronger. These players are back along with a couple from Uppsala who are in the Swedish squad along with a couple of other newcomers. In addition, Tova Derk who played for Exiles before her adventures in England has also signed for the club. They should have no problems against Uppsala Berserkers and can be seen as a strong challenger for the title this year.