Rugby players for Juvenia Kraków, a team supported by Nowy Styl Group, have come second in the 50th Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens. Playing in the U19 International tournament, Młode Smoki (Young Dragons) have fought their way into the grand final, where they were defeated by South Africa's Peregrines 14:22.
Rugby does have a group of fans in Poland, but it is definitely not as popular as football, ski jumping or volleyball. So here is a descriptive comparison to explain what the Kraków players have actually achieved: it is as if a small-town football team played in the youth edition of the Champions League and reached the final, in which they met Real Madrid. Moving away from sports comparisons and translating this into ‘our’ language, imagine that a Polish furniture and office solution manufacturer ranks third in the European FEMB ranking in 2019. Impossible? No it is not!
The Juvenia stadium in Kraków is a small facility with a unique atmosphere. The competition itself is a clash of tough guys, which is quite normal for rugby, and you can hear bones cracking during the game. In the stands, however, it is completely different: a friendly atmosphere prevails, the struggle is watched by families with kids and the announcer calmly explains the intricacies of the game. At the end of the season, after the last match at home, the club always holds a picnic with beer and sausages for players and fans. If you have never been there, you should try it one day: both the emotions and the sausages at the stadium in the district of Zwierzyniec.
From the beautiful, but somewhat picnicky atmosphere of the arena in Kraków’s Błonia Park, the players had to switch to playing against very demanding opponents and enduring the pressure of thousands of fans gathered in stadiums in Dubai, filled to capacity and much more impressive than the one at home.
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is one of the world's biggest tournaments in Olympic rugby. Next to the top 28 men's and women's national teams competing in the World Sevens Series, teams from all over the world clash on seven pitches in different categories. A total of 227 teams. The Young Dragons were one of 20 teams in the Under-19 category, and by winning two matches in the group stage and minimally losing one duel, they advanced to the quarter-finals.
The road to the final was hard, and the players from the Błonia Park had to beat Central SA Invitational, the finalists of the previous edition of Dubai Seven. Importantly, the experienced South African team had virtually nothing to say in that match:
I can say we played an almost perfect match. Everything worked perfectly, both in defence and attack. We were leading 19-5, but knowing the advantage we had, the team wanted to take a chance and go for another try. Points were scored by our rivals, but it didn't matter. We made our dreams come true, said Łukasz Kościelniak, the coach of the junior team from Kraków, beaming.
And the final? It started off swimmingly! In the first half, after points scored by Artur Bryl and Jakub Rapacz, the Young Dragons were leading 14-0. Gold was at their fingertips but, as the coach of the Kraków team said after the game: “We lost our power in the second part. We made four simple mistakes, and an opponent of such class will always know how to take advantage of a mistake. It hurts to lose, though.”
Juvenia Kraków's young rugby players had an appetite for more, but when they picked up the crystal medals for the second place and heard plenty of praise from South African coaches and players, they realised what they had achieved. They left behind many teams from South Africa and youth national teams from Germany, Belgium and Denmark.
We congratulate the young rugby players, and publish the results of the tournament below:
Juvenia Kraków – SA Invitational 19:12 (14:5)
Juvenia: Artur Bryl 9, Igor Kocimski 5, Bartłomiej Janeczko 5
Juvenia Kraków – North West Barbarians 17:15 (5:15)
Juvenia: Jakub Rapacz 10, Marcin Morus 5, Igor Kocimski 2
Juvenia Kraków – Peregrines 14:22 (14:0)
Juvenia: Artur Bryl 9, Jakub Rapacz 5
Ambition, humbleness, honesty and tolerance. These are Nowy Styl Group values. We think they are also close to the ideas of sports. This is why anyone who ever visits the Juvenia Kraków stadium will understand why we support that club. We are glad to be playing on the same side.