Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rugby Test: Finland Journey to Bulgaria

Finland v Bulgaria in Pernik (WCQ Euro.R5; ENC 3C)

Both these teams are no longer able to qualify further in the World Cup. They are playing to drag themselves off the bottom of the points table in ENC 3C, and of course for pride. Although only at the half-way stage in the ENC competition, these two teams look likely to be the ones who will be fighting to avoid relegation in 2010.

Bulgaria were easily defeated by Greece two weeks ago but always play better at home (although they did lose to Israel at home earlier in the season).

Finland has lost all its games so far and has two opportunities in which to advance. There is this game against Bulgaria, and then a game against Israel who have already qualified.

Previous Encounters
30.10.2004 Bulgaria 50-3 in Sofia (WCQ Europe, Round 1)
18.09.2004 Bulgaria 42-3 in Helsinki (WCQ Europe R1)
06.06.2003 Bulgaria 42-3 in Ibisa, Spain (ENC 3C, Semi-final)

The Bulgarians have a healthy record in the past against the Finns but I think Finland has improved their standard whilst I believe the Bulgarians have remained static.

GWC Rugby Rankings: Europe Table-Bulgaria 34th, Finland 37th

Prediction: Bulgaria by 21 points.


Finland Squad
Andras Devenyi (Helsinki Rugby Football Club) Age 33
Thomas Finell (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 25
Micke Holmström (Tampere Rugby Club)
Matthew Jordan (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 24
Topi Karjalainen (Lahti Sisu Rugby Club)
Jussi Kivelä (Tampere Rugby Club)
Mauno Konttila (Tampere Rugby Club)
Antti Lammi (Jyväskylä Rugby Club) 26
Jussi Latvala (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club)
Otto Nojonen (Tampere Rugby Club)
Erik Pekkola (Helsinki RFC)
Juha Rainvuori (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 22
Stuart Reynish (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 34
Riku Ryynänen (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 27
Joonas Santala (Helsinki RFC) 24
Sami Sarkki (Turku Eagles Rugby Football Club) 22
Ville Siiskonen
Christian Skogholm
Stephen Whittaker (Helsinki Rugby Football Club) 32
Valtteri Valtia (Helsinki Warriorrs RFC) 22
Jaakko Vilen (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 27
Lauri Ylönen (Helsinki Warriors Rugby Club) 28
Head Coach: Lee Bolger (UK)

Thanks to Heta Lampinen, Suomen Rugbyliiton puheenjohtaja, and to ... ?num=13434

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