On a bleak Saturday in Myllypuro, The Finland Senior Men’s National Team were preparing to kick off their 2014-16 ENC 2D season again Norway.
Finland were feeling confident after finishing the 2012-14 season on a high by comfortably beating Bosnia in Turku and securing a place in the 2D competition.
From the moment the referee blew the whistle to commence the game Finland were out of the blocks with a powerful challenge of the kick-off and gaining possession. The pace was fast and the contact intense. Scrums and lineouts were amazing with Finland taking all their own balls and a fair share of Norway’s. Driving mauls were clearly the masterpiece and resulted in 2 tries.
Quick thinking from the Finland 9, Tumppi Finell at a penalty on the Norwegian 5m line saw him dilly dally and dive over low at the line.
With a low breeze drifting over Myllypuro the golden boots of Tumppi Finell were firing the ball in between the goalposts like a highly trained marksman shooting tin cans at a firing range.
With a comfortable lead at half time it was out of the drizzle that had started to have a team talk and tweak a few details to be improved.
With the 2nd half under way, Finland again got stuck in and dominated several areas of play and putting more points on the board.
80 minutes was closing in fast and Finland was close of getting all their subs on the pitch for a run. With the score at 27-10 the sideline were just urging the referee to call time, toot the whistle and let celebrations begin. With the referee signaling that 3 minutes were still to play of injury time, which by our counting had already surpassed 9 minutes. We were on tenterhooks. Is his clock still working, has the pea fallen out of the whistle?
The doubting of time soon turned to elation when an awarded penalty made sure that Jussi Viljanen put the ball into the corner – time for a lineout. Lineout secured and as per the story of the day, a massive drive. The ball spun out, and then back in for a another rumble and Finland crossed the line once again.
The conversion was missed. The whistle was blown. 32-10. A win, a 4 try bonus point win. Finland had beaten Norway, the first time since 1991. Finland had also done what it set out to do and win back-to-back games.
The guys and the crowd were ecstatic. This would also mean a tidy rise in the IRB-rankings and a nice position at the top end of the ENC table. Everyone was a happy chappy.
The Norwegians voted scrum-half Tumppi Finell man of the match. Finland voted their own man of the match, but it wasn’t any player who put in sweat on the pitch but recently ‘retired’ coach of Finland – Alan Hine. Without the hard work he had put in over the last 4 years, we wouldn’t have been in a place to do what we did today.
The next game is the return leg against Norway in Oslo on 18.10.2014 at the Bislett Stadium.
Hyvä Suomi! #suomirugby