Final report Stockholm Tens 2016

Stockholm Tens 2016 – Official Report
The 24th edition of the Tens has come to a conclusion with some top class rugby and some top class entertainment.  Fears for the weather proved unfounded and we had for the most part glorious sunshine throughout.


For the second year running the Men´s tournament was divided into two levels, experienced and developing teams, competing for the Cup and the Shield. This has proved a success, especially when developing the younger clubs and players in Sweden. We will continue to develop this format in future.


The Cup tournament had a few annoying last minute dropouts, but when the smoke cleared we had 12 Men´s Cup, 12 Ladies´, 6 Plate Men and 3 OB teams playing on 4 pitches.


A number of new faces made it difficult to predict the outcome of the Men´s Cup. The home team Exiles was expected to be there or thereabout, although short of a few current internationalists.  The Lithuanians have been doing well recently in international Sevens and the centre of rugby in the country is Šiauliai. The question was how many of the BaltRex-Šiauliai team belonged to their current international squad? The answer as it turned out  was ”Most of them”.  Another intriguing new entry was for us the mainly unknown  Projecx Waterboys. Was this a jolly for some Middle-Eastern ex-pats or a strong Scottish team? More on this later but the answer here was definitely the latter. There were other newcomers and old timers from England, the DLA Pipers and the Beavers with two teams, and a couple of other Swedish first division sides, Södertälje and Hammarby. Exiles second team, the Babas, was also thought worthy of a place as were the Challengers,  a young Swedish Select team.


It became clear early on that the Waterboys, Šiauliai and Exiles were a cut above the rest, while Challengers, the two Beavers teams and the Babas had also caught the eye.


When it came to the Quarters, Exiles and Babas proved too strong for the disappointingly poor Swedish teams Hammarby and Södertälje. The Waterboys were a class better than the Challengers and Šiauliai outmuscled the English team of lawyers DLA Piper.


Exiles started strongly against Šiauliai in the semi and seemed to have command of the match, 17 – 5 with two minutes to go. But a couple of errors let the Lithuanians back into the match and they equalised on the final whistle. Exiles twice missed line-outs, one in attack and one in defence and that gave possession to Šiauliai who went on to score the decider. In the other semi the Waterboys were too strong for Babas, who had done well to get this far. Šiauliai started strongly in the final and were 14 – 0 up after 5 minutes. The Waterboys fought back and it was almost level, 12 – 14 at the break. A yellow card weakened Šiauliai and the Waterboys used an overlap to take the lead. Thereafter the Waterboys raised their game and ran in three more tries against a tiring opposition. A deserved win for the Scottish team. The Middle-East connection is a group of Scottish businessmen based in Dubai and headed by Alistair Munro, who select touring sides from the (amateur) Scottish leagues.  They have now won two tournaments in a row and shaped up well in Hong Kong and Amsterdam. A fine initiative has produced a top class team and we will no doubt here more of them in the future.


The Ladies had a good range of teams from Sweden and abroad. In the absence of the best Swedish team of recent years, the West Coast Vikings, Exiles with half the Swedish Sevens team were expected to do well and a number of Swedish internationals were also taking part in other teams. Sweden won the European 7s Trophy event in fine style a couple of weeks ago and are now promoted to next year´s Grand Prix. All the other better Swedish teams were present, including Pingvin from the far South and a combined North and South team comprising players from Umeå in the North and Skåne in the South, a distance of around 1000 km! Then we had Nordic friends from Stavanger and Tampere and three teams from pre-Brexit Britain. And finally, the regular Dangles from Switzerland.


Four of the Swedish teams made it to the Quarters. There Exiles easily beat Blackheath, Dangles were too strong for Stavanger,  North and South had a bit to spare against Uppsala and Saracens showed some strong running to beat Pingvin. In the Semis, North and South fought bravely but succumbed to Saracens while Exiles ran away from the Dangles. The two best teams, Exiles and Saracens, then met in the final, although North and South had given them both a run for their money in earlier games.


Saracens took an early lead but they were driven back by Exiles who by half-time were up 10 – 5. Exiles took over from a tiring Saracens in the second half with Tova Derk the fastest runner in the tournament sprinting away on the outside. Final score 31 – 5 and confirmation that the Swedish girls are in good shape at present.


The Men´s Shield for developing teams went well for all six teams. Scores were close and newcomers such as Skövde/Örebro and Mora were by no means disgraced. In the round-robin games Linköping won 4, Exiles III 3, Erikslund 3, IKSU (Swedish Academy) 2, Skövde/Örebro 2 and Mora 1.


In the final which went to sudden death, Exiles III showed an amazing nonchalans by squandering chances including the ball dropped over the goal-line twice, before allowing Linköping to run the length of the field to win. I hope we can expand this tournament next year as we can avoid unequal games on Day 1 and encourage the younger clubs to come forward.


Three Swedish clubs met for the OB-trophy with Exiles taking the title and chalking up a genuine score by the oldest Exiles ever, soon to be 70, Rik la Roche.

The lesser trophies for the Men went to the Beavers, who were unfortunate to miss out of the cup quarters on points difference (Bowl) and Challengers (Plate); for the Ladies it was Vänersborg (Bowl) and Uppsala (Plate). Fair Play trophy went to Beavers who ripped off most of their clothes at the award ceremony on hearing about this prestigious award. Their speedos being in a class of their own.


In conclusion, the many thank you´s. The 80 games couldn´t have been played without the referees who fielded three person teams for every game. Julian the man in charge once again doing a great job. The referees themselves, immaculately kitted out  and sponsored by our kit manufacturer, O´Neills. We were almost 50-50 with male and female referees,  coming from all over Europe and judged by our visiting teams to be extremely proficient.


Then the medics who mainly were able to get players back on the field; fortunately more or less no serious injuries otherwise but a steady stream of customers. Thanks to Ian for fixing the crew and a welcome return by Doctor Death a k a Dr Fredrik von Bergen. Rik was in his element as the crowds rolled up. Thanks also to Dr Balcarras Crafoord for his contributions. And a personal thanks to Dr Jakob, orthopedist, who wandered by when I was looking for help with an injured knee.


Karl and Eddy were the supremos in charge of bar and food with fast and efficient service and Stefan who gets the machines to work and keep working.

The paperwork is also of vital importance. Much of it is prepared meticulously in advance by Hunter Jr and others but the effort of maintaining contact with the 50 – 60 teams who contact us each year is enormous. Nigel and his wife Harriet have played an increasing role in handling this burden. They also ensure that the administration and result reporting is dealt with promptly. As the tournaments progress it can be seen immediately from our scoreboard what is happening on all fronts. Apologies for some minor IT problems on the Sunday morning but things were soon fixed with no issues occurring.


Finally, thanks once again to Allan and Hunter Jr for their enormous input in making the Ten´s a success year after year. None of the club members are paid for their efforts and the money generated goes to the running of Stockholm Exiles, Sweden´s biggest rugby club.


To some it seems like yesterday that the club was discussing running a Ten´s tournament. Now it will be the 25th Anniversary tournament on the first weekend in August, 2017. We plan to do something special for this event so keep an eye on our webpage and make sure you get an application in early. Look forward to seeing you at the big one.