Belgians First to Go in Rotterdam for the Samsung Super League with FEI
RELEASE: June 21, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Louise Parkes
It will be Belgium's turn to be first into the ring Friday afternoon, June 22, as the fourth leg of the 2007 Samsung Super League with FEI series kicks off in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
The teams were drawn in the following order:
5. The Netherlands
8. Great Britain
When asked whether it was an advantage or a disadvantage for his side to be under the pathfinding pressure, Belgian Chef d'Equipe Lucien Somers replied, "It's okay to be No. 1 in the first round as long as we go last in the second round!" That would, of course, mean that his team would be in the lead at the halfway stage.
For all his hopes however, there are plenty of others out to dash them, particularly the team managers for France, the USA and Sweden who hold the last three places on the leaderboard going into this half-way leg of the series.
The precise line-up of the teams will be decided later this evening, and Somers has a new name in his squad—23-year-old Niels Bruynseels, who has just seven Nations Cup starts, but three Nations Cup victories already under his belt. Bruynseels is joined in the Belgian selection by Dirk Demeersman, Marc van Dijck, World Champion Jos Lansink and Philippe Le Jeune.
Germany looks very strong with Ludger Beerbaum, Daniel Deusser, Marcus Ehning and Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst on call. At Thursday's press conference draw German Chef d'Equipe Kurt Gravemeier was asked if the money available for the Samsung Super League series was enough and his answer was that, "for the riders the money is never enough!" He continued, "However, I think the Samsung Super League is a great series, and I hope it will continue for many years to come—and thank you to Samsung for its continuous support."
Stefan Ganders, Competition Director of the Samsung Super League, commented, "Samsung is very proud to be part of this top series, and we always want to improve things—we are constantly working toward the future."
Third to go tomorrow, the Swedish team need to stay on their toes because they are trailing everyone else at present. They are not holding back with their choice of line-up however, and team manager Maria Gretzer has a great deal of solid experience to rely on in the shape of Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, Helena Lundback, Royne Zettermann and Erika Lickhammer. They look set to do some real business this time out.
A great second-round rally by the Americans at the last leg in St Gallen, Switzerland, should have given them some real encouragement, but they are only 1.5 points ahead of the Swedes on the leaderboard as the action begins. So even though manager George Morris has so many of his top names available to him, he is unlikely to leave Margie Engle, Laura Kraut, Beezie Madden, Richard Spooner and McLain Ward in any doubt about what this mission must accomplish. A clean break from the bottom of the table is essential if there is to be any breathing space in the second half of the series.
The home side should be the ones to beat. They trounced the opposition in St. Gallen, and Rob Ehrens knows that he has some leeway since the Dutch now lie third in the series with 14 points to their credit. The Swiss lie one place ahead of them with 14.75, and Manager Rolf Grass will expect to keep it that way when Daniel Etter, Werner Muff, Niklaus Schurtenberger and Pius Schwizer take the field.
Drawn second-last to go and lying third-last on the table, the French have no room for over-confidence. French show jumping Chef d'Equipe Gilles Bertran de Balanda sends out a strong side that includes Florian Angot riding First de Launay, Stephan Lafouge with Gabalou des Ores, Eugenie Angot with Ilostra Dark and Roger-Yves Bost riding Ideal de la Loge, and drawn second-last to go, they will be in determined mood. Lying sixth on the Samsung Super League with FEI leaderboard going into this half-way stage