Today, alongside the Boat Race Varsity match up between Oxford and Cambridge, and three of the weekend’s four Under 17 tourneys getting underway, the London Warriors will also be stepping out onto the gridiron – though in unfamiliar territory!
Britball’s #1 ranked team has headed across the North Sea to compete in their second NEFL fixture against Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders, in a game that will be streamed live at 1pm (we assume CEST, so 1200 for us?)
Having come from behind to defeat Denmark’s Copenhagen Towers in April, this sets up this fixture as a must-win game for both teams, with the winner progressing to the NEFL Final where they’ll face the Helsinki Roosters.
With the Warriors’ conference, the NEFL West, already slotted in as hosts of the final, a Warriors win would mean the opportunity to host a second international fixture in London – a great boon to the British game!
This fixture will represent a huge challenge for the Warriors, who have struggled in their previous forays into Europe – unable to keep pace with the great set up and roster boasted by the Swarco Tirol Raiders when they made the trip to Austria in 2015, falling 38-12, before losing out in the closing moments 34-31 to Germany’s Frankfurt Galaxy in the Autumn of 2015.
Per the first American Football International rankings of the 2017 seasons, the Warriors stack up as the 19th best team in Europe, Britain’s only programme to feature in the listings, whereas the Carlstad Crusaders can boast a 7th place ranking.
The Crusaders put in a much more convincing win against the Towers than the Warriors managed, so it’s apparent that the London side will need to be on top form this afternoon – something we’re yet to see from the Warriors in the domestic league this season where they opened the year initially falling behind against Premiership new boys, the Bury Saints, and seemed to scupper themselves last weekend in an uncharacteristically ill-disciplined match up against the Farnham Knights, only putting up 27 points, while conceding an estimated 200+ yards in penalties…
Were the Warriors conserving their strength for this weekend’s game?
For more, we look to our friends and partners over at americanfootballinternational.com, who released a great preview of the game with insight into the Swedish team’s playmakers:
The Carlstad Crusaders enter unknown territory Saturday when they host Britain’s number one team, the London Warriors in a do-or-die game in the Northern European Football League at Tingvalla field in Karlstad. They face a must win situation.
In fact, this is a must win for both teams. The winner advances to the NEFL final against the Helsinki Roosters.
Both teams have shaped dynasties in their own rights although they would both be loathe to admit it.
The Crusaders have won the Swedish crown seven straight times and have built a foundation based on grassroots football. The Warriors have captured four consecutive Britbowls, relying on products of their own programme.
Carlstad disposed of the Copenhagen Towers from Denmark 25-8 after building a 25-0 lead. The Warriors had a tougher time of it two weeks ago and had to come from behind to beat the Towers in London.
Crusaders quarterback Philip Juhlin leads a potent offense which has averaged 50 points a game in the Swedish league in four games. Quarterback Philip Juhlin is highly mobile with four excellent receivers led by Jacob Dahre and Marcus Johnsson. New import receiver Alpha Jalloh (Liberty University) will see his first action since arriving in Sweden earlier this week. The offensive line is led by Niklas Johansson, offensive lineman of the year in 2016. Import Chris Weeks who also arrived in Sweden in time for this game will make an already tough line even better…