Richard Naylor, president of Dansk Rugby League Forbund, has called upon his countrymen to match the domestic progress being made in their Scandinavian neighbours if they are to remain successful, the Danes having retained the Nordic Cup after victory over Norway.
This year’s Nordic cup matches are the first to be played under formal Test status, Denmark following up their 30-16 win in Sweden with a 24-12 home success over Norway in Roskilde, thereby becoming the first nation to achieve back-to-back titles.
“This was another genuine test match for us,” said Naylor, who played stand off in the victory.
“It was a really tough game played at a fast pace. Norway were well drilled and we had to dig deep and rely on a few outstanding individual performances. We are really proud to have won back to back Nordic Cups, but we can see that both Norway and Sweden are well ahead of us in terms of developing their own domestic talent.”
Naylor added, “We are going to have to address this if we want to enjoy more success in the future.”
Four tries in the final quarter swept Denmark to victory against Norway, which had hardly seemed likely for most of the preceding 60 minutes.
The match, played at Roskilde’s “Vor Frue” sports ground, was a tense affair with a well-drilled Norwegian team having the better of play for much of the game on one of the hottest days of the year.
Despite that, Denmark scored the first half’s only, unconverted try, captain and half back Viiga Lima finding Thomas Hobbs, who drew the full back and put prop Jesper Ika through.
Norway responded with strong-running debutant prop Steven Larsen particularly impressive, hooker Kristoffer Milligan taking advantage and Svein Åge Breimoen converting to give them the lead in the 45th minute.
Denmark turned the game on the hour, Stephen Kristiansen, on debut, picked up a loose ball in his own half and ran an intelligent line to beat the chasers and go between the posts.
In the next set, second rower and man of the match Silas Mubanda exploited the extra space to go in from 40 metres, Naylor converting both tries.
Two more scores followed for the hosts, both in the left corner. Andrei Ungureanu barged over after sustained Denmark pressure, then a flowing team move saw winger Morten Dam released to touch down.
Norway, featuring nine debutants, grabbed a consolation try by Trent Rowan, Breimoen goaling but the Danes completed a third straight win over them to hoist the Cup.
Denmark 24 (4)
Tries: Ika, Kristiensen, Mubanda, Ungureanu, Dam
Goals: Naylor 2/5
Norway 12 (0)
Tries: Milligan, Rowan
Goals: Breimoen 2/2
Men of the Match: Denmark – Silas Mubanda Norway – Kristoffer Milligan
Referee: Craig Swanson