The short season has had a fair number of twists and turns where several people including myself have made quite a few incorrect forecasts. One point which no-one has commented on is that every single game has been played this season, a first stretching back many years.
The Ladies´ Championship has been a thin one of course, with only four teams aspiring to semifinal places. It´s a poor show that three teams have combined to form Skåne Ladies and they will be favourites if, as expected, they beat Enköping and can expect to have a home final against Exiles, wherever that might be. Exiles will, of course, need to surmount Göteborg who on a good day can present a challenge. They beat Skåne Ladies at home but are not the best of travellers.
The Men´s Championship has been an exciting one, at least in the North, but the final crunch will come when North finally meets South. Troján , who rightly earned a home semi by beating Exiles 36 – 18, will now face Göteborg who beat Spartacus by 5 and 1 point respectively and lost by 3 points to Lugi. They´ve also run up big scores in other games but I find it hard to believe they have any chance against a competent, experienced and well-organised team such as Troján.
I expect the lads from Norrköping to make their second final in a row.
Once again Exiles will probably be the centre of attention this week. Quite a lot of people read my blog each week but that group does not seem to include Exiles. My blog and about four other Swedish sources spelt out exactly what results were required for the various rankings of Troján, Exiles and Enköping after last week´s games. This does not seem to have been registered by the Exiles´ team and management, many of whom after the final whistle appeared to think that Exiles had won the Northern series and would be playing Göteborg in the semi.
In retrospect, it doesn´t really matter as you have to beat everyone to take the title, but running a club is not just about getting a team together on the field.
The question is: How good are Pingvin? They have run up an average of over 50 points a game and conceded less than 10. The opposition has, however, been Malmö twice, Lugi twice, Vänersborg and Spartacus, an extremely modest group. Only Spartacus have played at any serious level if at all in recent years. Pingvin have a few decent Swedish players but there is no doubt that the team is run by a group of Georgians who create and score almost all the tries. The teams they have played against all seem to have a couple of overweight players and two or three young boys who are not capable of tackling mature adults, hence the many soft tries scored by Pingvin. Last Saturday, Lugi showed a bit more muscle and though the result was never in doubt there were long periods when Pingvin were on the back foot and struggled to impose themselves. Exiles on the other hand put up a poor show against Troján whom they had beaten in their previous encounter with a bit to spare. But now the gloves are off and it´s up to both sides to show what they can do. “Vinna eller försvinna” as we say in Swedish.
Exiles will be fielding a substantially stronger team than last week; if they play to their abilities and Pingvin play as they did against Lugi last week then Exiles will win comfortably. If Exiles play like last week and Pingvin can raise their game a bit then it could be a close-run thing. So it´s “Upp till bevis” as we also say in Swedish.