Shield Maidens – Snow Rugby – Innsbruck 2023
The Shield Maidens are a team of players with an enthusiasm for snow rugby. We formed via the power of social media and through friends of friends. Many of us had not met each other before, but we soon became a strong team, sharing rugby stories and personal journeys into the sport. The Shield Maidens are made up of players from BSI, Sagene, Blindern, and OSI, with management support from BSI and SRK. Silje Mygland, our one-person fan club, turned into our Instagram guru for the tour to Austria.
Andrine Brekke (BSI)
Emily Marøen (BSI)
Gina Wisnes (BSI)
Renate Hellerud (BSI)
Marte Sæbø (Blindern RK)
Emma S. Fagan (Sagene RK)
Eva Ince (Sagene RK)
Ida Jakobsen (OSI / Sagene RK)
Cecile Delourme (BSI) – Coach
Alice Little (Stavanger RK) – Manager
Silje Mygland – Fan Club & Social Media
The team was a good mix of experienced rugby players and some new to the sport. Gina Wisnes is our most capped 7s player and was part of the team that won silver in the Snow Rugby European Championships in 2019. Gina and Renate Hellerud were selected for Snow Rugby team which was due to compete in the 2022 European Championship (cancelled). The rest of the team are relatively new to rugby, Emily Marøen, Emma Fagan and Marte Sæbø playing in their first ever rugby matches at the Innsbruck tournament. The advice and guidance of the coach, Cecile Delourme, and the experienced members of the team strengthened the bonding and trust, and this showed in the performance on the pitch.
The Innsbruck Snow Rugby tournament takes place near the top of the Patscherkofel mountain to the south of the city, at an elevation of 1965 meters. Ten Women’s and 10 Men’s team come from Austria, Germany, UK and now from Norway. Spilt into pools of five teams, each team plays 4 pool matches. The top team in each pool went through to the final match.
Our first match was against Raichenhaller Rotkäppchen. After a tentative start, the Shield Maidens kicked into gear, score 5 tries in the first half. Raichenhaller Rotkäppchen reformed their defence and held off the Maidens attack in the second half, each team scoring one try. The match ended 6-1.
Match number 2 was to prove a more even fight. The Shield Maidens score 2 tries and Freiberg Snow Mercy scoring 1. The lack of game time was evident in the second half, with a few unforced tactical errors creeping in. The match finished 3-4 in favour of Freiberg Snow Mercy.
Matches three and four took place on Pitch B, where the snow was deeper and required much more effort to run through. Adding into the equation the effect of the altitude and the tight schedule, players had to dig deep physically and mentally.
Our third match was against RC Winti. In the first half, Shield Maidens scored 3 tries without reply. The second half was more evenly balanced with 2 tries for each side. Final score Shield Maidens 5 – 2 RC Winti.
Our final pool match was against the unbeaten Snow Dolphins. Their previous 2 matches had finished 5-0 and 11-0, so we knew we were up against a formidable opposition. Our defence was good, and we had a few chances at crossing the try line, but the Snow Dolphins had an incredible defence and turn-over rate. Final Score: Shield Maidens 0- 3 Snow Dolphins.
The Snow Dolphins finished top of our pool and progressed to the final, where they battled to victory against Stuttgart RC, final score 2-1.
The Shield Maidens would like to thank Rugby Club Innsbruck and other participating team for making us feel so welcome. To Tom, Jérémie and the organising team for a great tournament. To the on-site first aiders for taking such good care of us all. Our thanks also to BSI Rugbyklubb for the use of their kit for the weekend.
We look forward to participating next year, hopefully with both men’s and women’s teams.