Earlier this year, both Denmark and Norway’s rugby league sides would have eyed their fixture on August 17 at the CSR Nanok Rugby Club in Christianshavn as the Nordic Cup decider. After all, the Swedish Elks, the other team in the three-nation series, had never beaten either side before.
But following Sweden’s triumphs at home over the Denmark Lions and away against the Norway Vikings to lift their first ever cup, the game took on a dead rubber status. The only pressure was avoiding the wooden spoon, which Denmark did with gusto, running in a sackful of tries to seal a 60-10 win.
The intimate atmosphere at CSR, many of the spectators agreed, was more conducive than previous venues to a sport that has only been played in Denmark since 2008, and those gathered were treated to a commanding display of attacking rugby from the home team.
The Vikings could not handle the power of Thor Thomsen, Andrei Ungureanu and Jesper Ika, and by half-time they trailed 10-36, a mountain that grew ever larger following a converted try barely a minute after the restart.
“Denmark are a confidence team, so when we stamped our authority on the game early on, we had every chance to go from strength to strength throughout the game,” explained Lions centre Martin Scott Petersen, who plays for Gateshead Storm in England.
“Norway have some very potent players in their ranks and it was down to us to try and keep them as quiet as possible.”
Norwegian RL president Kim André Seglem was magnanimous in defeat. “Their well-drilled squad became too much for us,” he conceded.
At half-time, the Lions introduced their new shirt sponsor, the Danish Cystic Fibrosis Association, to address the crowd about their continued efforts fighting the disorder. And at full-time, it was left to another sponsor, the Black Swan beer bar, to tempt those gathered – which included a large contingent from Copenhagen Roller Derby – into a well-earned drink.