This weekend saw HRC travel to Turku on the archipelago, with only 1 thing on their minds: a win. Winning in Turku would secure HRC a home game for the semi finals the following weekend, and with the semis opponent being Tampere Rugby Club (1 win at home, 1 loss away this season) the home advantage would be appreciated.
Helsinki were facing the best team Turku had fielded in some years, so much so that this year the Eagles had managed to put points on a scoreboard, a feat that eluded them last season. Still so, the game kicked off in nigh on perfect weather conditions, damp, cloudy and cool. Helsinki took control straight from the off, and it wasn't hard to see who had the man power in the front 8. The clock had barely started when a deft chip over the rushing backs line saw Petri Pallari catch the ball after a flirtatious juggle to score just outside of the uprights. This was to be the flood gates opening for a bevy of tries. With every player from HRC playing a blinder it was hard to see how the Eagles had a chance of stopping HRC. Kicks were slotted through with precision, bombs were dropped on a sixpence and crash ball not only crashed but carried on, with Helsinki's #8 Andras Devenyi steaming over for 2 tries, it was at this point that greed was obvious so Andras was replaced by Stephen Whittaker. The team carried on with good hands and powerful running from HRC's inside center Juhani Majanen. With 20 minutes to go, Eagles lost a player in the front row resulting in uncontested scrums, which just gave HRC more opportunity to pick and go from the back of the set piece. With a scrum positioned 15 metres from the Eagles line, 5 in from the touch, the ball was positioned at the back feet, for some reason the scrum half was feeling generous for the backs and wanted to spread the ball wide, obviously this didn't sit well with the now #8, Stephen who picked up, charged down the short side, fending off the blind side flanker and setting up a maul with the approaching support, a 10 metre drive saw the whole front 8 crash over. Debate is still on as to whether Stephen or replacement prop Henry Wright scored.
The low point of the game was for replacement Niilo Kivisto who came on as a replacement fullback and within 1 minute had collected a sweet pass, become sandwiched between 2 Eagles players, but managed to travel over the try line, for his troubles he came away with 1 try, 1 minute of game time and 2 broken bones in his wrist.
The game ended on a high for HRC with a scoreline of 60-5, with the Eagles only try coming from a quick tap and go, stretch of the defence and a low dive over the line.
Match report by Stephen Whittaker