For the last tournament of the season, in which for the third time only Helsinki Rugby Club introduced a second team, the team was a great mix of oldies and newbies, with the return from retirement of our very own Peter Doktar to inspire us all. And as Ray Dickson said after the tournament, this tournament was a great show of strength for the Tiger Cubs, and we are Cubs no more! Not only did the Cubs get their first victory of the year, but they also racked in their second, and third! Last but not least, the Cubs also gave the Mini Guns a run for their money in the final game which crowned the Guns as Finnish 7s champions. Thanks to Porvoo for a great tournament in conditions ranging from winter to summer and back to winter in a matter of minutes.
HRC II 21-7 Warriors
Even though the start was a bit rough, the defense showed up and inspired the team to resist well to a Warriors team that really wanted to run and ruck all day. After the opening try by the Warriors, HRC Tiger Cubs came back and exploited every mistake and dropped ball with the quick runs of their French speedsters Erwan Itillieux (2 tries) and Mathieu Deloire (1 try). All in all a scrappy game, in which the Cubs tried too much to dominate the ruck and forgot about the 7s play, but which got better and better with a bit of practice. The unfortunate news came with the concussion of Javier Posadas, consequence of a MMA tackle on the hard ground, which sidelined him for the day. A first victory for the year for the Tiger Cubs! And the start of a great day...
HRC II 0-32 Linna
Linna proved to be the better contestant in this game and managed to quickly get the balls out of the rucks and on the wings for easy scores. The Tiger Cubs had some good moments but committed too many players to the rucks and could not compete overall. Linna performed well and came out as the clear victor. 1 victory and 1 loss for HRC Tiger Cubs, but the day was far from over.
HRC II 39-12 Espoo
Espoo started valiantly with the 7 players that they had brought to the tournament, and no substitutes and the game was a closed contest for the first few half, but the Cubs started taking advantage of every mistakes and missed tackles and piled on the tries. In the end Erwan got his first hattrick for the club, Mathieu scored his second of the day, and Jaakko Hannula, Hannu Hooman and Anton Nevalainen added one apiece. This game turned an historic day (our first victory) into an Epic one with a second victory in three games!
HRC II 10-5 Porvoo
While the day had started well, this game proved to be our best, and the most competitive of the day. With a great defensive line and constant pressure, and the Cubs playing more like a 7s team, the team managed to score the opening try by Emmanuel Courbin, acting team captain, and led 5-0 at the half. With one try for each team in the second half (Anton scoring his second try of the day for HRC), the Cubs fought valiantly and managed to keep Porvoo at bay, sending the home team out with a surprise defeat that nobody was expecting. Three victories in four games for the Tiger Cubs!
HRC II 12-31 HRC 1
The final game of the tournament (after Espoo forfeited what should have been the final game) was against our very own first team and 7s championship leader who needed to clinch the tournament victory and the 7s national title in this game (to be fair, any results would have brought the title, but who cares). The Cubs made this game a real contest against a team who had managed a flawless tournament until now and who were not expecting such a reaction. Even though the Mini Guns took the lead early, the Cubs managed to score back in the first half with Mathieu Deloire’s third try of the tournament and kept the first half a close contest. When Anton scored his third and last try of the day, the Cubs were back in the game with a 12-17 score. After that, the Guns prevailed and scored twice more, but the most important thing was an excellent tournament for the Cubs and altogether a great day.
All in all, the Tiger Cubs finished third of the tournament and brought back a superb and minuscule trophy to reward us of our hard work!
Match report by Emmanuel Courbin