13.07.2018 - 17:28

Platz 11 in der Rugby Europe Trophy für Frauen 7s Team

Nach dem erfreulichen 10. Rang beim ersten Turnier in der Ukraine, galt es diesen Platz auch beim zweiten Turnier in Ungarn zu erreichen, um den Verbleib in der zweithöchsten europäischen 7s Kategorie zu sichern.

Österreich kam in eine Vorrunden-Gruppe mit den starken Teams aus Schweden, Rumänien und Tschechien. Besonders gegen die auf Gesamt-Platz 4 liegenden Rumäninnen gelang eine hervorragende Leistung und man musste sich nur knapp mit 5:19 geschlagen geben. Auch in den beiden anderen Spielen war eine Leistungssteigerung erkennbar, zu einem Sieg reichte es allerdings nicht und so spielte das Team von Coach Eva Gerstl am zweiten Tag um die Plätze 9 bis 12.

Die Begegnung mit Israel sollte sich als entscheidend heraus stellen. Österreich konnte rasch in Führung gehen, musste aber noch kurz vor der Halbzeit den Ausgleich hinnehmen. In der zweiten Hälfte erwies sich Israel dann als die abgebrühtere und erfahrenere Mannschaft, die ihre Chancen nutzte und mit 24:5 gewinnen konnte. Im letzten Spiel um Platz 11 konnte Österreich Lettland mit 19:17 besiegen - letztlich reichte dies aber nicht zum Klassenerhalt. Im Vergleich mit Israel gab es einen Turnier-Punkte-Gleichstand, Israel blieb nur mit einer hauchdünn besseren Punkte-Differenz aus beiden Turnieren auf Gesamt-Rang 10.

Trotz der Enttäuschung über den verpassten Klassenerhalt, überwiegt doch das Positive in einer sehr lehrreichen Saison für das junge österreichische Team. Man hat nun gesehen, was notwendig ist, um auf diesem hohen Niveau zu bestehen und wird sich gewissenhaft auf die nächstjährige Conference 1 vorbereiten, in die Österreich nun als Top-gereihtes Team gehen wird. Das Team, die Betreuerinnen und der ÖRV bedanken sich herzlich bei allen Unterstützer/innen, die ihren Teil dazu beigetragen haben, dass unsere "Capris" die Herausforderung "Rugby Europe Trophy" erstmals annehmen konnten!

Nachfolgend ein Saison-Bericht vom österreichischen Betreuerinnen-Team:

The RE Trophy was played in 2 legs, the first in Dnipro (Ukraine) from 23.-24.06. and the second in Szeged (Hungary) from 7.-8.07. During the first leg, Austria was in a pool with Sweden (#1), Hungary (#6) and Finland (#7). Sweden was favoured to be promoted again after this tournament and were extremely strong opponents. Hungary and Finland were both teams we played in prep tournaments before the championship and in those prep tournaments we had one win and one loss against each team, which proved we could play up and challenge these teams in the trophy – even though we entered the tournament ranked 12th. Hopes were high against Hungary – however, it was a different squad than that in our prep games and we were caught on the backfoot. Austria’s defence put up an admirable fight but was ultimately overcome by Hungary’s speed. Austria walked away with a loss, 31-5. The last game of the pool stage was against Finland. The pressure was on to secure a win and solidify our pool ranking, however we could not find our stride and the pressure mounted, the game also ended in a loss, ending 20-0, making us fourth in our pool.

Sunday brought about the tournament’s cross games, followed by the ranking games. It was important that Austria wins the cross game which would give us a chance to play for 9th place rather than 11th. Austria met Latvia in the first Sunday cross game. Our offense had finally started to click and it showed on the scoreboard, ending 41:5 for Austria and solidifying our place in the 9th/10th place ranking game against the Czech Republic. Knowing the Czech Republic only really by reputation we knew this team was experienced and strong, having core team members who have been on the squad for quite some time. With decisive set pieces, speed and physicality the Czech Republic was able to make us rely primarily on our defence, giving us very little opportunity to strike offensively. The game ended in a loss, but ranked us 10th overall, 2 places higher than at the start.

In the Szeged leg of the tournament, our pool was – again – Sweden (#3), Romania (#4) and Czech Republic (#9). We had the small advantage of knowing what to expect as we had played 2 of the 3 pool teams two weeks prior, but also had the disadvantage of knowing we had lost those two games and knowing how strong the opponents were. In the game against Sweden, Austria was able to show progress from 2 weeks prior and hold Sweden to only 7 points in the first half, but with some half time adjustments and substitutions Sweden found a rhythm and decisively won the game 27:0. Although a loss on the scoreboard, spirits were high as progress was shown from Dnipro.

The second game of the Szeged leg saw Austria take on Romania. Romania is a very physical and fast team, which gained momentum after success in Dnipro. Austria could show the same improvement as in the game against Sweden, holding back a strong team – losing only 19:5 (7-0 HT). The final pool game of the day had us, once again, take on the Czech Republic. The game was extremely similar to that of two weeks ago, even ending with the same score, 36:5 to the Czech Republic, once again landing Austria as fourth in the pool.

The first cross game on Sunday would prove to be the most important, putting Austria against Israel. Israel who had ended 11th in Dnipro would have to beat us and rely on a point differential to claim the 10th spot and avoid relegation to the conference next year. This would be a decisive game, which we would also have to play without our starting winger, who was benched due to injury. Austria had a strong start, scoring the first try of the game early on, however Israel managed to score just before half time. It was 7:7 in the break. Israel was able to score quickly in the second half and gain momentum, ultimately proving too much for the Austrian ladies to overcome, and the game ended in a loss. Leaving only one game to determine the final ranking.

The final game of the tournament for Austria saw us once again be matched up against Latvia. This time Latvia proved to be more of a challenge, taking an early lead. Latvia was able to get around the Austrian defence twice before the ladies could get their bearings. But, it didn’t take long before Austria could fight back. The half time score was all tied up 12:12. With one minute left on the clock Latvia pulled ahead once more, but missed the conversion making the score 17:12. In the final seconds, Austria could break through to tie the game, ultimately making the conversion and winning 19:17. Austria was able to come away with a final win, but the loss against Israel meant that both Israel and Austria were tied at 10th place in the rankings and it would come down to a point difference for both teams over the two legs of the tournament. The point difference decided that Israel would walk away with 10th place, and Austria 11th.

This season was filled with both success and disappointment. Nevertheless, the Austrian ladies were able to climb one spot, ending 11th rather than 12th in the rankings and will enter the Conference next year ranked 1st. Valuable experience was gained in our journey to the Trophy, as well as partnerships we hope to develop in the future with various teams we have met along the way. Our new goals going forward have been set, and preparation for next year has already begun.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year, the fans that made the trip to watch live, as well as those who watched from home. The constant support of our fans is priceless!