Euro Cup 2017 Review
21 National Aussie Rules teams from all across Europe converged on Bordeaux this weekend in the 12th edition of the Euro Cup. This year’s tournament welcomed 14 men’s and 7 women’s teams from 15 countries, making it one of the largest Euro Cup’s to date.
It was a massive action-packed day of Aussie Rules footy and wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible efforts of 11 umpires, 12 match volunteers, and countless volunteers from the CNFA and the Bordeaux Bombers supplying everyone with food and drinks all day and night.
With 7 women’s teams making the trip over to Bordeaux this year, two pools were formed for the first half of the day. The Irish Banshees and the England Vixens topped pools A and B, with the rest of the ladder proving to be a close finish with hard-fought matches played around the grounds all morning. The Swedish Ravens, French Gauloises and Scottish Sirens all celebrated their return to the Euro Cup with victories, and the Croatian Queens and Welsh Wyverns/Danish Valkyries teams made their mark on the early stages of the Euro Cup.
Standings after pool stages:
1. Irish Banshees
2. Swedish Ravens
3. Croatian Queens
1. England Vixens
2. French Gauloises
3. Scottish Sirens
4. Welsh Wyverns/Danish Valkyries
The men’s competition was split across four pools to accommodate the massive 14 teams that made the trip over to Bordeaux. Pool A consisted of the Austrian Avalanches, German Eagles, the Swiss Mountain Cocks, and the Jerusalem Peace Lions. The Eagles proved to be the leader of the pool and managed to take away 3 wins from their 3 pool games, fresh off the back of a strong performance at the International Cup in Melbourne. The Avalanches and the Peace Lions also managed to come away with wins, with the unlucky Mountain Cocks finding their competition too strong in the pool stages.
Pool B, a group of three teams, was headlined by the mighty Irish Warriors who came away undefeated from the morning’s matches, securing themselves a place in the Euro Cup quarter finals. They were challenged by a strong side from The Netherlands, with the Flying Dutchmen overcoming the Scottish Clansmen in a thrilling single point victory to earn themselves second and third place in their Pool respectively.
Pool C consisted of this year’s Euro Cup host country team, the French Coqs, who did themselves proud by taking out top spot in their pool and managing to stay undefeated throughout the morning. They were particularly thrilled to take down last year’s Champions, the Croatian Knights, in a narrow 4-point victory. The Croatians weren’t going to let a defeat diminish their spirits and went on to defeat the Czech Republic Dragons and the Russian Czars in the rest of their pool matches.
The final men’s group, Pool D, was championed by an in-form England Dragonslayers side, who proved unbeatable throughout the day but were challenged by their British neighbours the Welsh Red Dragons in the group stages. The Dragonslayers lived up to their name when they defeated the Red Dragons 15-5, and both sides proved too strong for their final competitor, the Swedish Elks, who struggled to get many points on the board against the two tough UK sides.
Standings after Pool stages:
1. German Eagles
2. Austrian Avalanches
3. Jerusalem Peace Lions
4. Swiss Mountain Cocks
1. Irish Warriors
2. Netherlands Flying Dutchmen
3. Scottish Clansmen
1. French Coqs
2. Croatian Knights
3. Czech Republic Dragons
4. Russian Czars
1. England Dragonslayers
2. Welsh Dragons
3. Swedish Elks
The Women’s finals saw the top two teams from each Pool progressing to the semi-finals, while the remaining three teams spent the afternoon playing round-robin style matches to play off for the 5th place “Plate” title. The Semi finalists included the Irish Banshees, Swedish Ravens, England Vixens, and the French Gauloises. The Vixens progressed to the women’s final after leaving their Swedish opponents scoreless during the semi’s, with the Banshees also earning their place in the final after a 63-1 defeat over the French Gauloises.
The third place playoff match saw the Ravens come away victorious to earn themselves the Bronze medal, and afterwards all eyes turned towards Pitch 1 to see the highly anticipated women’s final where the defending Champions, and recent International Cup winners the Irish Banshees take on the seemingly unbeatable England Vixens. The Vixens didn’t waste any time any establishing a fast lead, their stellar performance earning themselves the Euro Cup title with a 38-14 victory over the Banshees.
Women’s Final Placings:
- England Vixens
- Irish Banshees
- Swedish Ravens
- French Gauloises
- Scottish Sirens
- Welsh Wyverns/Danish Valkyries
- Croatian Queens
The Men’s finals saw each Pool’s top two teams progressing through to the quarter finals, while the remaining 6 teams were ranked on percentage to play-off in the Plate finals. The German Eagles, Irish Warriors, French Coqs, and England Dragonslayers proved to be the strongest four of the men’s side and entered into a gruelling set of finals matches as they battled it out to be Euro Cup champions. The French Coqs put up a great fight in the first semi-final but the Dragonslayers proved too strong for the Coqs and earned their place in the Men’s final with a 42-21 victory. Meanwhile, the German Eagles suffered a similar defeat when they were taken down by the Irish Warriors 26-40.
Following their semi-final defeats, the Eagles and Coqs prepared themselves for their biggest match of the day – the 3rd place playoff to earn themselves the bronze medal. It was a hard-fought, close match, with both sides giving it their all over a challenging 30 minutes. The German Eagles took the eventual lead with a narrow 14-11 point win over the hosting French Coqs. After a spectacular set of finals matches from both the men’s and women’s competitions, the crowd was eager to see who would take home the Cup to replace the Croatian Knights as the Champions of Europe. In a similar fashion to the women’s final, the English side pulled ahead early and earned their rightful place as Euro Cup winners with a 58-9 defeat over the Warriors.
It was the Welsh Red Dragons who took home the Bowl after earning their 5th place victory over the Flying Dutchmen. The Bowl was also contested by last year’s winners the Croatian Knights and the Austrian Avalanches, who came away with 7th and 8th places respectively. The men’s Plate found a new home with the Czech Republic Dragons who defeated the Scottish Clansmen for 9th place in the final. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Peace Lions earned their 11th place after a convincing win over the Swedish Elks, and the Russian Czars avoided the bottom of the ladder with a victory against the Swiss Mountain Cocks.
Men’s Final Placings:
- England Dragonslayers
- Irish Warriors
- German Eagles
- French Coqs
- Welsh Red Dragons
- Flying Dutchmen
- Croatian Knights
- Austrian Avalanches
- Czech Republic Dragons
- Scottish Clansmen
- Jerusalem Peace Lions
- Swedish Elks
- Russian Czars
- Swiss Mountain Cocks
Umpire of the Tournament – The Down Under Centre Golden Whistle:
Laurie Rupe – USAFL
Men’s Team of the Tournament:
- Austrian Avalanche – Andreas Junk
- Czech Republic Dragons – Tomas Nemec
- England Dragonslayers – Luke Booth
- Netherlands Flying Dutchmen – Neil Cooke
- French Coqs – Julien Dagois
- German Eagles – Martin Schuttoff
- Irish Warriors – Kevin McSorley
- Jerusalem Peace Lions – Shir Shalev
- Russian Czars – Pavel Eliseev
- Scottish Clansmen – Matt Goodman
- Swedish Elks – Nicklas Andersson
- Swiss Mountain Cocks – Jeff Bishop
- Welsh Red Dragons – Owain Ryland
Women’s Team of the Tournament:
- Croatian Queens – Ana Barisic
- England Vixens – Rania Turner-Ramadan
- Irish Banshees – Rachel McGee
- Scottish Sirens – Caroline Sellar
- Swedish Ravens – Hanna Falkenstrom
- Welsh Wyverns/Danish Valkyries – Chiara Palazzo
Men’s Player of the Tournament:
- Croatian Knights – Josip Motik
Women’s Player of the Tournament:
- French Gauloises – Camille Portal