Saturday, April 17, 2010

TEST RUGBY: Sweden Plays Latvia

Sweden v Latvia in Riga (ENC 2B)

Venue: Daugava Stadium

Referee: Petrescu (Romania)

The volcanic ash from Iceland is causing havoc with travel around Europe. Image thanks to

The volcanic ash problem in Europe looks set to affect this game. Already the Switzerland-Lithuania game is off. England-based Swedish players Magnus MacDonald (London Scottish), Andrew Daish (Nuneaton), Sebastian Taylor (Old Haberdashers), Lee Sandberg (North Walsham) and Alex Taylor (Captain), (Nuneaton) will almost certainly miss the game. They are unable to fly out from London forcing Swedish rugby officials to call upon local players to be replacements. Who those players are is not yet known.

2010.04.17 Latvia v Sweden poster
Latvia v Sweden match poster. Image thanks to


The Swedish player situation changes the whole nature of this important game. Both Latvia and Sweden are in the relegation zone for this division. Sweden has dropped its last two games by only very narrow margins (16-19 to Netherlands and then 23-25 away to Malta-a heartbreaking result!) to find itself in this situation after a promising start. If Latvia wins today then the relegation situation will depend on these two team's last games-Latvia against Malta away and Sweden against Croatia at home. If Sweden wins then it's good-bye to Latvia.

Latvia is in a serious situation. They are without a win, lost heavily in their last game to The Netherlands 3-57, and then lost both warm up games to Lithuania earlier this month. The advantage they have is that this is a home game and Sweden are without at least five leading players. This has levelled out the playing field. Whereas one would have given Sweden the game mid week (they won easily against Latvia 21-5 in the first round at home) now looks a very even contest. Latvia could just sneak in.

2008.10.25 Latvia-Sweden
Last round Latvia struggled against the Swedes. Saturday could be different. Image thanks to

Last Five Encounters
25.10.2008 Sweden 21-5 in Vanesborg (WCQ Europe R3; ENC 2B)
22.10.2005 Latvia 18-5 in Riga (ENC 3A)
23.10.2004 Sweden 20-18 in Valmeria (WCQ Europe R2; Pool C)
06.10.2001 Sweden 37-12 in Stockholm (FIRA/WCQ Europe R2; Pool B)
09.06.2001 Sweden 17-10 in Stockholm (FIRA Pool 2; WCQ Europe R1)

GWC Rugby Rankings
Europe Table-Sweden 22nd, Latvia 23rd

Prediction: Latvia by 5 points



Sweden Squad (Home-based only)
Mattias Thorhard, Hammarby
Matt Youngman, Enkoping
Viktor Petterson, Enkoping
Eirik Lundqvist, Enkoping
Hannes Ericsson, Hammarby
Tim Johansson, Enkoping
Bobby Nave, Enkoping
Paul Sullivan, Stockholm Exiles
Tobias Borg, Enkoping
Ian Gowland, Stockholm Exiles
Rikard Johansson, Hammarby
Rikard Ornberg, Vanersborg
Eric Trogen, Enkoping
Ricky Opuko, Enkoping
Jim Wetterstrom, Enkoping
Peter Wiklund, Vanersborg
Thomas Ardvisson, Bordeaux FRA ?-not know whether he is in Riga or not.


Latvia-Team as yet unknown

1 comment:

  1. Latvia edged out Sweden 31-27 to create an interesting struggle to avoid relegation to ENC 2C. Will it be Latvia or Sweden? Sweden has the edge on aggregate but a lot will depend on both team's results in their last games.