Final preview: HRC ladies on their way back to the top

The final game of the ladies’ rugby season 2019 will be played in Hämeenlinna, where 2015 and 2016 champion Helsinki Rugby Club will go against the reigning champion Jyväskylä Rugby Club.

HRC ladies in the final again

Helsinki Rugby Club ladies have made their way to the Finnish Championship final for the fifth time. Season 2014 ended with a clear loss to the golden generation of Warriors Rugby Club. 2015 and 2016 HRC won the title against Tampere Rugby Club and 2017 TRC prevented a historical triple by snatching the trophy to Tampere. 2018 Helsinki got ran over in the semifinal by the high-performing Jyväskylä Rugby Club, the once and future champion of the consecutive year. Now, after a gap year Helsinki will return to the final with more dedication than ever.

HRC constantly improving

HRC has managed to improve their performance throughout the season. Two first matches of the season ended with clear 24-5 and 24-41 losses against JRC and Turku Swans. As the season has advanced, the team has managed to develop in all aspects of the game. Defensive line speed has evolved, and the team has securely disarmed opponents even at the try line. Set pieces have also been brought to a high level: the line-outs are reliable and the blue-white scrum has been able to dominate every opposing forward pack. HRC also brings immense threat in attack with both newly adapted modern and versatile forward play and the fastest backline in Finnish rugby. As proof of recent development HRC has beaten Turku Swans twice in the Autumn,   the last game of the season and the semi-final.

However, despite the progress the August rematch against JRC ended with a tight loss. Jyväskylä caught Helsinki asleep at the start of the match and scored 17 point during the first half of the match. During the second half Helsinki got into the game and proved to be a force to be reckoned with by scoring 12 point. Unfortunately JRC broke the Helsinki chase with a tactically well-timed 3-point penalty kick, ending the game in 12-20 score.

JRC looking strong

JRC has won almost every match this season with a clear margin and will be the frontrunner for the final. The reigning champion is on their second consecutive season of excellent rugby. When Jyväskylä is playing, there are no weak links or superstars. the support lines are deadly and the opponent will be greedily punished for every mistake and gap in defence. This season JRC has also improved their kicking game, collecting easy points from ill-advised penalties. However, a loss against Tampere and barely there victories over Turku and Helsinki prove that JRC can be beaten.

An exciting final ahead

The championship final of 2019 will be a clash against the two most dangerous teams in the series. Both Helsinki and Jyväskylä have outscored the other teams by at least a 100 points by scoring a minimum of 400 points during the season and will surely use any opportunity to score starting from the first minute. Both teams are also capable of scoring from penalties, which means team discipline will be extremely important in the upcoming battle. Despite the frontrunner status of Jyväskylä, the two teams on their best day are evenly matched, meaning we are in for a real thriller. The champion of 2019 will be the team with the ability to meticulously execute their game plan and remain calm despite the immense pressure.

Women’s Finnish Rugby Championship Final 2019, Hämeenlinna, Saturday 28.9. at 14.00.