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First blood to Swiss in European Trophy

This year’s autumn internationals began in Helsinki where Finland hosted Switzerland in the revived European Trophy tournament.

Da Silva - orginally from Brazil - celebrates scoring Switzerland's second try

This was the 17th test match for both teams, and the third time they had met, with both previous games going Switzerland’s way.

After kicking off this autumn’s international rugby Switzerland were soon on the board with a well taken penalty by Selina Fux after just three minutes, but the noticeably larger Finns responded well after a nervy start, and were firmly camped in the Swiss end for most of the first 20 minutes, dominating up front.

But for all their pressure the Swiss defence held firm. One of the stars of the Finnish team, outside centre Anna Soiluva, had had a magnificent season for her club before the game, and crossed the line after 13 minutes only to be held up by the Swiss defence. She broke though again five minutes later, but a vital try-saving tackle by Velez Gardeta kept her out again.

The Swiss finally escaped from their half and won a second penalty chance after 26 minutes, but this time Fux sent the ball wide. But shortly afterwards Swiss flyhalf Simone Haymoz was given a yellow card, returning the advantage to the Finns, who scored the game’s first try after 33 minutes, Anna Soiluva scoring in the corner to give Finland a 5-3 lead.

Back to fifteen players, Switzerland returned to the attack. Wing Nicole Gerber-Imsand was just brought to ground short in the corner, a tackle that earned a yellow card for Finland. From the resulting tapped penalty Switzerland scored their first try close to the posts, allowing a simple conversion and giving them a 10-5 lead at the break.

With a player advantage to start the second half, Switzerland resumed the attack. Even when returned to 15 players Finland could find no escape. Switzerland’s willingness to move the ball quickly down the backline stretched the Finnish defence, setting up several opportunities that they were unable to take, so the score remained 10-5 as the game moved into the final quarter.

Despite the errors, the Swiss maintained the pressure, keeping the game mainly at the Finnish end, until after 31 minutes Da Silva danced through the Finnish defence to extend the Swiss lead, 15-5. Finland attempted to recover and briefly threatened the Swiss line, but Switzerland regained the initiative and Anne Thiebaud scored the third Swiss try from final play.

Finland: 1 - Sarianna Haavisto; 2 - Noora Kallio; 3 - Katri Nummelin; 4 - Satu Heikkonen; 5 - Susanna Haavisto; 6 - Ulla Tuomainen; 7 - Reetta Tenhu; 8 - Hanna(c) Visuri; 9 - Heidi Koffert; 10 - Noora Plattonen; 11 - Vilma Lammi; 12 - Ida Herrgard; 13 - Anna Soiluva; 14 - Riina Ala-Tuori; 15 - Eeva Pohjanheimo; 16 - Teija Alasalmi; 17 - Saara Ilmonen; 18 - Kati Leskinen; 19 - Sanni Honkanen; 20 - Wilma Heiskala; 21 - Jenny Sapattinen; 22 - Ea Huhtala; 23 - Jutta Litmanen. Coach:   Henri Tyrväinen

Switzerland: 1 - Victoria Laternser; 2 - Angela Stadelmann; 3 - Katja Dick; 4 - Anais Kistler; 5 - Juliette Pera; 6 - Carole Gachet; 7 - Leonie Robert; 8 - Sabrina Walti; 9 - Fabienne Ullmann; 10 - Simone Haymoz; 11 - Nicole Gerber-Imsand; 12 - Rahel Bosshard; 13 - Carole Casparis; 14 - Selina Fux; 15 - Velez Gardeta; 16 - Rico Sorli; 17 - Rebecca Ellis; 18 - Stephanie Klupp; 19 - Julie Gaudin; 20 - Salome Hosch; 21 - Silva Da; 22 - Anne Thiebaud; 23 - Pauline Delessert. Coach: Emmanuel Revert