Saturday 26. March 16:23, a couple hundred of people are standing around eagerly waiting. The sun is shining, Easter mood, NRK cameras and commentators focused, 24 female rugby players pumped up ready for the final. At 1625 it was lights, camera, and whistle! The first ever Norwegian Snow Rugby Championship final was underway and live on Television. Myrkdalen really was the perfect location for our first snow rugby national championship. Placed right outside of the hotel at the bottom of the ski slopes, it had the perfect spot for grabbing people as they walk past. People were just trying to go off on a weekend ski trip, however, it turned into a sunny day of watching some great women and men play a fast-exciting sport.
At 0915 the first match was underway between BSI Rugby and NTNUI. Lots of the women in these teams have some experience in snow rugby after competing for Norway in the 2019 European snow rugby championship in Moscow where they took 2nd place. It was a great first match, both teams started fast, and some big tackles were made. BSI eventually came out on top and took the win 5 – 3. The next match was a highly anticipated one. Stavanger Ladies were set the challenge of playing Sogndal Rugbyklubb, who were about to play their first ever official rugby match. Sogndal may not have had the best odds from Norsk Tipping, but they were certainly one of the best prepared teams. Along with Eldar Rugby, they are the only team to have been training on snow for the last 6 months in preparation for this tournament. They really did put up a great fight against an experienced Stavanger, however, at the full-time whistle, the newbies fell short losing 5 – 10.
BSI took on Sagene If in the 4th round of matches, this was a highly anticipated match between the two favourite teams. Both teams played some fantastic rugby, but the score line shows one clear winner with BSI scoring 6 unanswered tries to win 6 – 0. The uneven shoreline shows BSI took their chances but managed to keep out the attacking threats of Sagene, which is no easy task. The next two matches gave the biggest score of the days with some amazing tries scored! NTNUI really showed their class to beat Sogndal 12 – 0 and BSI beat their west country rivals Stavanger in a convincing 15 – 1 victory. With this big victory, they had booked themselves into the final with one game still to play!
The next three matches went past with all three favourites winning, Sagene beat Sogndal in the second half after a very challenging first half. Sagene then played again after a short break to play old 7s rivals Stavanger to a hard fought 10 – 3 win. With two matches in the group left to play, Sagene would play BSI in the final. BSI then put on a great show of attacking rugby to beat Sogndal 12 – 1. The last match of the group stage became an unofficial Bronze Medal Final match between Stavanger and NTNUI, whoever would win this match would place third in the group and take bronze!
1625, here we are. The whistle blew and the two best teams went at each other with fury. Both teams exchanged tries immediately! Each team took it in turns to take the lead, but neither took a bigger lead than 1 try. It stayed even for a long while as the teams attached and defended with great passion until the line break on the halfway line came from Tonje Lyssand, the Sagene star broke free and sprinted down the middle to score what turned out be the winning try that gave them a big enough lead to hold on, even with a late BSI score!
Final whistle blew, and Sagene added the Snow Rugby Championship Trophy to their collection! Sagene players and supporters through their hands in the air in celebration and the BSI players stayed on the pitch after dominating the group stage, saddened to fall just short of taking home the victory. Despite this, all teams had a really great day taking part in the historic day in Norwegian rugby history!
It really was the perfect. Great rugby was played, Rugby fans realised a new type of rugby that they hadn’t noticed before, and the public at Myrkdalen and NM Veka took notice of the sport that we all truly love. It is all uphill from here, the NRF have plans to make Snow rugby a more constant in our rugby calendar, resulting rugby being played all year round!
A special mention must go the Sogndal Women. This was their first official tournament and they really made themselves and the NRF proud. They had a large amount of local support in the crowd cheering them on as they proved their worth in the rugby community. They may not have fallen the right side of the results, but with more game time and experience, they really are going to be a team to fear! Keep going with the great work!
Thank you to all the volunteers, players, and fans, and we will see you and the next event!
- Sagene If