The Swedish XVs got off to a spirited start at Skarpnäck yesterday with Exiles, despite the score, having to work hard to overcome Göteborg. Exiles fielded a radically changed team with 15 players, many of them internationals, unavailable from what was regarded as their best squad.
Nevertheless they set off at a tremendous pace and Göteborg were nowhere near the halfway line for the first half-hour. During that time they must have put in 60 tackles to stop the Exiles backs who looked like running away with the game. Despite their efforts they were unable to stop the tries coming, although it took 11” before young South African winger Jeandre got over for his first of a hattrick. Other tries came from a clever run by the massive figure of Tim J. and from a forward drive with lock Kris getting the touchdown. With Ian G. putting over four out of five it was 33 – 0 after just over 30” and looking like a long afternoon for the visitors.
But Göteborg did not crumble and, after a yellow card for Exiles, they had much of the ball for the remaining ten minutes of the half. Sterling tackling by Exiles kept them a bit away from the try-line however. With the wind behind them Göteborg were able to kick downfield as possession evened out and, as Exiles brought on their bench it was not until the 65th minute that Liam R. was able to force his way over. Then Neex added another after a powerful burst and it was 47 – 0 with a few minutes to go. But Göteborg came back once again and a clever change of direction after an Exiles´ fumble saw them go over in the corner. But Exiles came right back and on the final whistle the Georgian Ushangi found a gap for a final score of 52 – 5. All three tries in the second half by subs, a good sign.
The Exiles´ backs were always full of running with Kyle providing an excellent service and Tim distributing the ball well. Jeandre was a live-wire on the wing and Ian rock-solid at full back. A good all-round display by the forward with youngster Albin H. jumping well in the lineouts. Man of the match was, however, captain and flanker James D. (“Darbs”) who bobbed up everywhere in a dynamic display. Full marks to Göteborg who, short on subs, fought hard all day. It was one of the fastest and best Allsvenska matches I have seen for some time.
In the other game of the day, Pingvin won 41 – 0 up in Enköping, who seemed to be without Robin Fransson. The visitors had three players away in Portugal but were strengthened by two New Zealanders and four Georgians from Helsingborg. Only two of these made the starting line-up however.