Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The different world of international sevens

A glimpse of the future, or a one off anomaly? That is probably the main question to come out of FIRA's Women's European Sevens championship in Moscow this weekend (see here for the results).

There is an argument that many of the "traditional" rugby nations are risking an awful shock by simply assuming that they will be able to roll up and qualify for the 2016 Olympics (or come to that the 2013 World Cup) - that the "new" nations will not be much of a problem. This is because these nations are taking Sevens very seriously - in some cases playing nothing but Sevens. It is a theory that is largely untested - but maybe there is something in it.

England could only finish fifth. Admittedly it was not the full strength national team, but it was by no means a poor side. However, although they scored comfortable wins over Sweden and Germany, England lost to Italy by three tries to one (a yellow card will not have helped, though), and then this morning fell 12-10 to France. Though they did win the plate, this was only thanks to narrow wins over Portugal (who play nothing but Sevens) and Russia (also Sevens specialists who England normally beat by 50+ when they play at 15s). Elsewhere the Dutch reached the final for the second year running, losing out to Spain.

Normal service may be renewed next season, but at the very least it is clear that the gap between Europe's rugby playing nations is far closer at 7s than it is 15s - and that countries that you might not normally consider could have realistic hopes of some glory in 2013 and 2016.

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