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Perfect start to women’s RE Championship for Netherlands

Netherlands got their women’s Rugby Europe Championship campaign underway with a bang at the National Rugby Center in Amsterdam on Saturday.


Against Sweden, the hosts scored their first try after four minutes and simply never looked back, eventually coming out on top with a 59-0 bonus point victory.

And, given the troubles Sweden caused them in the second half of the same fixture last year, as well as scoring plenty of points Netherlands will be happy to not have conceded any at all.


The opening try mentioned in the fourth minute came via winger Gaya van Nifterik.


In the eighth minute try number two came from second-row Inger Jongerius and stand-off Isis Touw converted for 12-0.

By the 28th minute Netherlands had five tries on the board, the next three unconverted efforts coming from hooker Anouk Veerkamp, second-row Isa Prins and Jongerius again.


Lieve Stallmann and Nicky Dix, the full-back and the loosehead prop respectively, were the next try scorers and it was 37-0 at the interval to the rampant hosts and Sweden did not have any answers.


Centre Pien Selbeck, tighthead Brechtje Karst and back-rowers Elisabeth Boot and Mariet Luijken scored second half tries with replacement Marit Lemmens converting one.

Linde Van Der Velden, the Netherlands No.8, said:  “The positives here were that we put into practice in a match some of the things we have been working hard on in training in the last few weeks.


“We dominated in defence and our attack was good while we are working on the kick chase which is something new to our game.


“It is a good start, things are going well and we can build from here now.”

Tamara Taylor, the Sweden head coach, said:  “Credit to the Netherlands, I think performances like this really show the investment they have put into their youth coming through and for 60 minutes or so they were excellent.


“We came good late on and the girls kept going while there were two new caps involved which is a positive for Swedish rugby. We are going in the right direction we were just a bit slow in this game.”

The Netherlands travel to Portugal next on February 24 with Sweden’s next game on the road to the same opponents on March 9.


By Gary Heatly

Photos by Dennis van de Sande

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