Switzerland and the Czech Republic finish their Rugby Europe Trophy weekend with one win each
Rugby Europe Trophy Switzerland - Czech Republic:
Women's Game Switzerland 5 - 10 Czech Rep.
Men's Game: Switzerland 17 - 5 Czech Rep.
Photos by Stéphanie Imobersteg
17/11/2018, Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Today’s Suisserugby Day saw the Swiss Men’s and Women’s National teams each face off against the Czech Republic in Rugby Europe Men’s and Women’s Trophy matches in Yverdon. This marked the first time ever that two nations' Men's and Women's team faced each other in parallell Rugby Europe Trophy Games on the same day in the same location.
The Czech Republic narrowly won the women’s match 10 to 5 thanks to a brilliant last-second try in overtime by Czech number 19 Jana Nedvidkova, while it was Switzerland who won an equally exciting men’s match over the Czech Republic thanks to 1 try by flying winger Sylvain Hirsch and 3 penalties off the boot of the impeccable Simon Perrod.
On a frigid but dry autumn day in front of an excited and numerous home crowd in Yverdon, the Czech women kicked off the match against their Swiss counterparts, traditionally known as the Konektro Cup, into a strong headwind. Through most of a first half marked largely by the Swiss ladies’ attacking play, neither team managed a score until at the 31st minute, the Swiss forward pack muscled their way into the scoring zone, to allow second rower Anais Kistler to touch down following a good run off a ruck, for an unconverted score of 5-0. Despite being the first on the board, the Swiss ladies weren’t able to keep the lead into the halftime break, with Czech number 10 equalizing the score at the 37th minute, when the ball was spun wide after a forwards attack: 5-5 at halftime.
Coming out of the break, and now facing an even stronger headwind, the Swiss and the Czech ladies traded attacking chances, with both sides displaying strong, corageous defence. However, as the game wore into its final quarter and the wind blew stronger and stronger into the Swiss faces, it was the Czech team who managed to pin the Swiss over and over deep into their half, demanding a courageous defensive display by the Ladies with the Edelweiss on their hearts. Just when a fair 5-5 draw seemed the unfailing conclusion of the match, the final seconds decided to offer an exciting ending to the match: failing to find touch on a penalty from deep in Swiss territory, the Swiss team gave the ball up to the Czechs, to attack from the opposing 22-meter line. Though possession traded hands twice more as the clock ticked beyond the 80th minute and on into overtime, it was the Czech team who, through a stroke of genius by number 10, Alexandra Zitkova, came out ahead: seeing a final opportunity and feeling the wind at her back, she chipped a kick over the Swiss line into the try-Zone, to have her Cerviño chase it down for a final score, to make the result 5-10 for the Czech Republic.
In the men’s match, which was preceded by a minute of applause as well as a ceremonial kick-off in memory of Swiss Rugby’s U20 manager and former national team player Stephan Albertoni, it was the Swiss team who started playing into the steady wind. Nevertheless, it was them who scored first, when winger Sylvan Hirsch chased down a perfectly placed cross-field kick by the brilliant Simon Perrod, at just the 4th minute of play. For the rest of the half, the Swiss and the Czech traded attacks, with the Swiss missing a few surefire chances for a score. Finally, it was the Swiss who again came out ahead and back onto the scoreboard. Following a yellow card to Czech flanker James Faktor at the 31st minute, Switzerland’s Simon Perrod knocked a penalty through the uprights from the 22-meter-line at the 37th minute, making the halftime score 8-0.
In the second half, the men of the Edelweiss, now with the wind at their backs, planted themselves back into the Czech half of the field, and capitalised through two more Simon Perrod penalty kicks at the 47th minute from the 22 meter line and a long kick from 40 meters out at the 62nd minute: 14-0 the score, going into the last quarter of the match. Despite some spirited Czech attacking paly, it was Switzerland who benefitted from another penalty call, which Simon Perrod brilliantly converted into remarkable 3 points, from 50 meters out, all the way over on the 15 meter hashmarks. The 17-0 score with 10 minutes left to play, put Switzerland far enough out of reach. Even Czech winger Jakub Zalud’s gallopping run into the try zone at the 72nd minute could not put the Swiss victory in danger: final score 17-5.
Switzerland’s next game in the Rugby Europe Trophy comes just 7 days after this match, on November 24th against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
The Swiss Rugby Union would like to thank all Staff and Volunteers and the Local Organizing Committee of the RC Yverdon for the organization of this great event, as well as the fans for supporting their Swiss Rugby Teams in large numbers.