Vänersborg V Karlstad Match Report
A tale of two halves
A tale of two halves– Andrew Martin
Karlstad travelled to Vänersborg for the return match after their 18-10 home victory the previous week. Head coach Eamonn had another full squad travelling, with the only casualty from the previous weekend’s victory being outside centre Anton Johansson with a knee injury. The players can be very proud of their excellent commitment levels this season.
In the forwards there was a reshuffle with Björn Olaf Larsson moving back to his familiar tighthead prop position and Johan Tervell was back in the 2nd row after a late withdrawal with a back injury the previous week. In the backs, Robin Klemets replaced the injured Johansson at outside centre and Jönas Björnström taking the wing slot. A strong bench was named with Owen Thomas returning from an ankle injury.
A good intense warm up was had with captain Andy emphasising that the aggression in the forwards needed to improve from kick off. The team had worked hard at their lineouts in training during the week which was another area the team where looking to improve in. The hugely experienced Eamonn had spoken to about technical aspects of the scrum and that was something they looked to improve on also.
Karlstad started the game well with some good defence and contained the Vänersborg attack both close to the rucks and out wide – Vänersborg were again looking to exploit their young, speedy backs at every opportunity. Sadly the scrum and lineout was again not functioning as well as it could, but it was improved nevertheless and the front row of Henrik, Anthony and Bjorn improved their aggression from the previous game and will continue to improve this with every game. Credit where it is also due that the Vänersborg set piece was very efficient –a well-coached forward unit who scrummaged and defended lineouts very well.
It was a tight first half, with neither team getting any real attacking opportunity. Karlstad were hitting the ball up well with inspirational leader Johan Tervill at the heart of the attack and Eric Ceder controlling things well at scrum half despite a stomach bug before the game.
An Eric Ceder penalty kick made the score 0-3 to Karlstad but immediately after this, the Vänersborg kicker got a penalty kick of his own and the score at half time was 3-3.
After the break Karlstad took their foot off the gas, whilst Vänersborg put their foot down. Some poor tackling saw Vänersborg get their first try; the Vänersborg captain Anton making a charging run through a lot of weak Karlstad tackling. The aggression from the first half was missing.
Injuries were beginning to creep in to the Karlstad team – a consequence of having a squad with an average age of 35, and the team required yet more reshuffling. These changes inevitably meant Karlstad lost structure and more Vänersborg tries followed, the Vänersborg captain and Man of the Match Anton at the heart of them all.
Injuries also affected the Vänersborg team and there was a long break as a Vänersborg player got an accidental boot to the face. Everyone at Karlstad wishes him a speedy recovery.
As always the Karlstad team never gave up and there was a real chance down the left side of the pitch with vice captain Blom and captain Martin linking up well, only for a try saving tackle by one of the Vänersborg second row players, who also had a very good game, preventing the try.
Final score Vänersborg 22 – Karlstad 3
In conclusion it was a disappointing defeat as Karlstad failed to get the away victory they wanted this season. But we will remain positive – it was a vastly improved first half performance from the previous week, yet the second half didn’t continue as the first did. Karlstad will continue to grow and develop as a team as players in new positions and new combinations of players learn from each other every game.
Special mentions go to the front row of Henrik, Anthony, Bjorn and Martin when he came on, who fronted up much more than the previous week, worked more on their technical aspects and will only get better and better as they play more together and learn about their technically difficult front row positions. Berry was his usual energetic and determined self in his last away game with the club, and Mikael Blom was immense in defence.
In the backs Marcus worked hard in defensive as always and Karlstad’s Man of the Match Robin put in a big defensive effort at 13. Ben and Jönas defended well on the wings and Vincent did well when he came on and will learn more and more about the game the more he plays!
A special thanks to the referee Rolf from Vänersborg, who was fair, allowed both teams to play rugby and communicated everything well to both teams. This was probably the best refereeing performance that Karlstad have had all season and a massive thank you to him for that.
Next week is a week off for the team before the last game of the regular season at home to Oslo on Saturday 6thJune, where the team hope to keep their 100% home record intact in front of their faithful Orrholmen supporters.