Ruck & Roll: Sweden’s Growing Rugby Teams

Outdoors & Sports

Ruck & Roll: Sweden’s Growing Rugby Teams

With the Women’s World Cup behind us, let’s turn our heads to one of the fastest growing sports: rugby.

Photo by Fredrik Wicksell, Svenska Rugbyförbundet Facebook

Rugby, a contact team sport, originated in Europe in the early 19th century. The sport, which is played by more than 8 million men and women worldwide, resembles a combination of American football and soccer. There are two main variants of rugby: sevens (7s) and 15s. Sevens is comprised of seven players per side with seven-minute halves and typically is played in tournaments. The second and most-common variant of rugby is 15s. Fifteens is much longer than sevens with 40-minute halves and 15 players per side.

The men’s Swedish national rugby team is one of 47 countries in Rugby Europe, a European rugby union, and plays in the Rugby Europe Conference 1 North. Other members of the Conference 1 North include Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Hungary and Latvia.

This fall, the world will watch as 20 countries compete in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, a men’s rugby tournament, in Japan. While Sweden isn’t one of those countries competing for the title, rugby in Sweden is a growing sport, with the rugby season only lasting from May to September due to the climate. The Swedish national rugby team has been trying to qualify for the Rugby World Cup since 1991 but has yet to make it to the final rounds of competition.

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As for the women’s Swedish national rugby team, it competed in the Rugby Europe Olympic Sevens Women’s Qualifiers over the weekend in Kazan, Russia. The women’s team lost in two shut-outs to Russia (29-0) and England (50-0) on the first day of the qualifiers, and ultimately finished 9th after beating Germany twice (29-5, 12-0) and Moldova (27-7).

Although the Swedish men and women’s national teams have completed their seasons for the year, you can still cheer on the Swedish girls youth team (under 18) when they compete in the 2019 Rugby Europe 7s U18 Girls Championship on September 1. The girls youth team will compete in Pool C against Belgium, Ireland and Spain.

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