4 th round of the Super Series and as always a lot to play for. Points at the moment: Exiles 13, Pingvin 12, Enköping 5 and Troján 1. All six of the games have been pretty close so far and the points do not really reflect the differences in quality among the teams. Exiles have played and won all three of their games, all played away for scheduling reasons and now play all the others at home, taking us up to the half-way mark in the Championship. This week Exiles receive Enköping while Troján travel down to Pingvin. The forecast that injuries could play an important part in this demanding Championship seems also to be correct, all four of the participating teams have key players injured, some of them long-term. But that´s the way things go nowadays, with rugby changing from a contact to a collision sport. To name but a few, the brothers Alex and Dennis Melander, Sweden´s two fastest sprinters, are both out for a spell. Several of the Exiles´ stars of a few years ago, still very competitive, are also struggling and a number of the Troján backs plus utility man Sami Paulsson have also missed games. Enköping´s best import, Cameron King, has not been seen for a while and perhaps the worst injury, entirely accidental, was sustained by Pingvin´s Nathaniel Cickovski with a jaw broken in two places. Let´s hope the numbers do not continue to mount up at the present rate.
Exiles will not be fielding their strongest team against Enköping on Saturday, but they are the only club regularly fielding two teams every week and have probably the greatest strength in depth of the four clubs. They reckon they have about 30 players who can turn out for the Firsts without substantially reducing the quality of the squad. Enköping have a big pack with a decent lineout, but they have been pushed around in the set pieces for most of the season and that could well be the case this week as well. In their backs Oskar Proos returns after suspension but Tim J. will be missing due to a family celebration. The other key player, Robin F. seemed to be nursing an injury at the Sevens last week; without him in good shape their backs will be struggling, although King is down to return. I don´t normally bet against Enköping but I think Exiles will be too strong for them on Saturday.
The other match presents several similar question marks. Star try-scorer for Troján Alex M. is missing, but on the other wing Setanta Macaodha showed that he is also an exciting runner. Sami P. looks set to stay at standoff and they will probably have 3-4 reinforcements from Kalmar Södra. Troján played pretty well last week with Jonas Zengler going from strength to strength and this could be a very tight game. There is supposed to be an agreement that all four clubs will field their teams on Thursday evening, but this isn´t always done. Early on Saturday morning I still don´t know who Troján are fielding.
Pingvin play their cards pretty close to their chest. In their first two games it was their 6-7 Georgians who dominated but in their third match against Enköping they “only” had four starting Georgians including one back. Admittedly they had three more on the bench but none of the seven scored any of Pingvin´s five tries. In the first two games they scored 7 of the 9 tries. Make what you will of that. This week there are only two front row Georgians starting but there are three more including two good backs on the bench. Troján shaped up well in the Sevens last week as mentioned and I´d like to see them spring a surprise and take the points. It´s not quite clear what is happening in Pingvin, they are starting with a very young back division and this game could go either way.
This is a decisive weekend. If Troján and Enköping lose they will be around 15 and 10 points respectively behind the leaders with 30 odd points to play for. If they win, all four teams will be fairly close together before the summer break.