The London Warriors are a programme with a well-earned reputation for keeping themselves to themselves – they keep their focus on their football and getting quotes or highlights out of them can be like drawing blood from a stone when they choose to ‘go dark’.
It clearly works for them – the Warriors have won five of the past six National Championships, returning to the top of the British game in 2018 with an emphatic victory over the Phoenix.
As such, it’s not all that unusual that the reigning British National Champions have scheduled up an International Preseason fixture… and hardly anyone outside the organisation had a clue it was happening!
This Saturday the London Warriors will host the Uppsala 86ers, one of Sweden’s top programmes, as the former NEFL rivals bring a small travelling roster across to the UK to take on the British Champions.
The Warriors, however, are keeping the event pretty private – with only Warriors friends and family set to attend to see the top British programme take to the field for the first time in 2019!
We’re only aware of the fixture because one of the Warriors social media pages briefly shared the above promo image – before it was swiftly removed! As noted, the event is intended for the Warriors, and their alumni and family, and to ensure the discretion of the event we’ve pixelated the kick-off times and location.
As noted, both teams previously competed in the 2017 iteration of the Northern European Football League (NEFL) though they didn’t meet at the time having been assigned to separate brackets.
The Warriors would go 1-1 in their first foray into international football that summer, and our understanding is they’ll not take up their right as British Champs to participate in the NEFL summer (indeed, there have thus far been no announcements from IFAF whether the elite European competition is actually going ahead.)
The 86ers are coming off a fairly successful 2018 domestic campaign themselves, having reached the semi-finals before narrowly losing out to the Carlstad Crusaders.
Our sources say they head to the UK this week with a reduced travelling roster of 22 players and we’ll do our best to learn how the British Champs fare against the visitors – though as we noted, it’s never easy to get much info out of our enigmatic champions!