Midnight Rugby Tournament kicked off for the twelfth time on June 15, 2012 with matches between teams from France, Sweden, Netherlands, Estonia and Finland. Over the next two days 54 matches were played in total by the 19 teams from 8 countries including our first non-European team - Tigers RFC from USA!
With the busy and growing Women’s domestic league in Finland some local teams decided not to visit Midnight Rugby this year so the women’s competition did not have as many teams as we hoped. But with our first Russian ladies team the quality of the rugby and the enjoyment the players got was undiminished! While the men play 10-a-side rugby, the women were once again playing rugby 7s. Rugby 7s has been introduced to the Olympics for Rio 2016 and has been growing rapidly in the last few years.
The women played two rounds of matches against each other, with finals played on Saturday. Team Khimki from Russia showed a good example to the local teams acting very professionally throughout the tournament, and their approach and skill proved too much for the two Helsinki teams, winning the final 25 - 5 against Warriors RC, taking the Baltic Plate to Russia for the first time!
A great turnout saw 16 teams in the men's competition, arranged in to four groups. Group play on Friday afternoon and evening saw the four groups being headed by four very good foreign teams - RC Mephi from Russia, Toast d’Aqui from France, RC ‘t Gooi from Netherlands and Tigers RFC from USA.
With the pitch side sauna being put to full use, the food tent being kept busy and the belly sliding contest done we got down to the serious end of the tournament. Finnish teams competed well during the two days of competition and teams from Rauma and Jyväskylä making the finals.
The host’s first team managed to take home the Wooden Spoon after a narrow loss to the Finland old Boys team.
The finals kicked off with Toast d’Aqui from France beating Jyväskylä 20 - 0 Baltic Bowl, while Tigers RFC from USA came back from a shock loss to win the Baltic Cup, beating Rauma Ice Pack 40 - 0.
A big sized crowd watched the ladies final followed by RFC Livonia in their second consecutive final but once again they could not win, going down 12 - 5 to the Dutch team RC ‘t Gooi!
Team Khimki (RUS) - Baltic Plate winners
Warriors RC - Baltic Plate runners up
RC T'Gooi I (NED) - Baltic Plate winners
Livonia RFC (LAT) - Baltic Plate runners up
Toast d'Aqui I (FRA) RC MEPHI (RUS) Tigers RFC (USA) - Baltic Cup winners
Rauma Ice Pack RC T'Gooi II (NED) Warriors RC Toast d'Aqui II (FRA) - Baltic Bowl winners
Helsinki Rugby Club II Tallinn Sharks (EST)
FC Lagamba (SWE)
Finland Old Boys
Helsinki Rugby Club I - Wooden Spoon
As well as the usual Midnight Rugby tournament this year we had an impressive junior programme with junior rugby players coming from all over Finland to take part in a two day training camp. As well as training many of the juniors got to play in matches, with the highlight being the juniors beating the Old Boys showing that the future of rugby in Finland is looking bright!
Once again the referees played a big part in keeping the tournament running smoothly. The Finnish Rugby Referee Association supplied referees for every match in addition to our guest referee Roger King from the London Society of Rugby Football Union Referees bringing some experience to the centre of the pitch.