A comprehensive 44-6 success over holders Sweden in Copenhagen last weekend, building on earlier victory against Norway in Oslo, saw Denmark pick up the 2014 Nordic Cup, becoming the first of the Scandinavian nations to hold it twice having won the inaugural tournament in 2011.
Try doubles from centre pairing Emil Borggren and Martin Pedersen-Scott laid the platform against the Swedes, leading Steve Davy, president of the Dansk Rugby League Forbund, to comment: “Sweden and Denmark both contributed to the highest quality rugby league game I have ever seen in Scandinavia. The intensity and focus in the run up to it was evident and seen in the determination and teamwork on the day.”
He continued: “It was a great day for Danish rugby league especially as there are more born and bred Danes making the team.”
Danish coach Nigel Kitching, formerly with London Skolars and Avignon added: “We went for a balance of youth and experience in what was the strongest Danish team we have fielded. Every one of the lads played with discipline and enthusiasm, which I hope we can carry forward.”
Three of Denmark’s starting 13 were teenagers, Borggren, Jesper Ika and try-scoring winger Christoffer Ellebirke. “It is really pleasing to see youth not just coming through but succeeding at international level,” said Kitching.
Man of the match Borggren commented: “It was a great experience representing my country in one of the finest sports. Our overall strength, speed, and skill is what led us to be successful earning the Nordic Cup. I'm very proud to be a part of this team and hope to watch rugby league excel in Denmark as a sport.”
Sweden coach Ash Brown acknowledged: “It was a brutal match that let the best of Danish rugby league shine. We lost the soul of our side, Paul Briggs, in the first tackle of the match due to a heavy collision and the tone of the game was set from there.”
“The massive Danish forward pack laid the groundwork for some slick moves from the halves and outside backs. Our young side showed plenty of heart but was out gunned.”
Hooker Richard Groom opened the scoring for the hosts with a try and goal and Denmark were soon celebrating again when a precision kick from stand-off Justin Eyles was collected by Ellebirke in the corner of the in-goal area to make it 10-0.
Sweden hit back at the end of the first quarter, skipper Fabian Wikander - their best performer - going over and converting his own try.
Pederson-Scott responded with his first touchdown but Sweden dominated territorially, Orveh Melchior and captain Eugene Hanrahan leading the home rear-guard.
Silas Mubanda’s explosive running was rewarded with the last try of the first half, Denmark going in to the break 22-6 ahead.
Borggren then took centre stage, twice going over on the right and Pedersen-Scott also picked up his brace with an excellent individual run that took him past several tacklers to the posts.
Neil Smith claimed the Danes eighth try, a worthy reward for all his hard work, Groom landing his sixth goal
Sweden now go on to their home fixture against Norway to establish second and third place.
DENMARK 44 (22)
Josh Whitehead, Morten Dam, Emil Borggren, Martin Pedersen-Scott, Christoffer Ellebirke, Justin Eyles, Viiga Lima, Jesper Ika, Rich Groom, Andrei Ungureanu, Orveh Melchior, Neil Smith, Eugene Hanrahan © Subs (all used) Rob King, Thor Thomsen, Silas Mubanda, Mark Bailey
Tries: Groom, Ellerbirke, Pedersen-Scott (2), Mubanda, Borggren (2), Smith
Goals: Groom 6/7, Bailey 0/1
SWEDEN 6 (6)
Chrstoffer Andreasson, Pontus Eriksson, Mafi Fakaosifolau, Christopher Vannerberg Rollet, Tobias Magnusson, David Lonsjo, Fabian Wikander, Victor Cordes Pettersson, Lars Hylander, Markus Lundin, Carl Lindblom, Paul Briggs, Iain Lednor Subs (all used) Thomas Olausson, Tobias Nilsson, Ben Gandy, Joakim Thilen.
Goals: Wikander 1/1
Referee: Craig Swanson