Positive result for Sweden but let´s not get carried away. Luxemburg rugby has not developed positively since COVID and this was a much poorer team than the one which beat Sweden 13 – 0 two years ago. This Swedish team has improved since then but would be considerably stronger if all eligible players were available and selected. Those who played yesterday and were definitely worth their places scored seven of Sweden´s eight tries. And I don´t think there was a single Swedish supporter who didn´t cheer like mad when the joker in the pack, Adam Christersson, with his first cap and 80 minutes of hard graft in the front row sprinted 80 metres to score on the final whistle. Try of the season!
Otherwise it was the usual suspects doing the damage: the back row, Alex Melander and Kalling-Smith. Vaa Juta showed his ability to bob up in the right place at the right time to snatch a couple tries, Theo spent the afternoon knocking people over, creating openings and snatching a clever try from a planned move at the lineout. Kalling-Smith looked as if he had bulked up a bit to force his way over in the backs for a couple and Alex Melander showed his blistering pace to run away from the opposition and to run straight through them for another two tries. With them we have the makings of a much stronger team then the one on show against Luxemburg.
Otherwise there was a fair show of modest performances. The props held up in the scrums but achieved little else. Christersson is not a hooker, but are hookers needed any more now that the ball goes straight into the second row? We lost no scrums, someone else threw in at the lineout and Christersson rushed about industriously all afternoon. Why not try him out in the centre? Arthur Marini jumped well in the lineouts but didn´t show up elsewhere. Zengler didn´t impress today but may have taken a knock early on.
The halfbacks were also fairly anonymous with Mattieu S-C putting over 5 kicks out of 10. Axelsson was an improvement at scrumhalf when he came on after 42”. The two wingers were also uninspiring with Millner in the centre showing a few flashes. Melander did not look comfortable at full back, but it´s obvious he should be in the team.
Looking forward to the Spring when perhaps we can get our best team together I would still only select Kalling-Smith from abroad. Perhaps also Assarsson and Marini, although we have plenty of good props and locks at home.
We should be able to knock off Latvia next week, Covid permitting, although we only won by a few points last time around. And then we should be targeting the Czechs for promotion.