Dublin Sevens: Women’s Global Repechage Takes Center Stage

Spread the love

The Olympic dream is so close for one of these teams competing at the Dublin Sevens Olympic repechage tournament this weekend, they can all ‘taste it’. The players only have to perform now over the round-robin matches and qualifying stages to achieve that goal–a Golden  opportunity. For the female athletes competing, the Women’s Global Repechage Takes Center Stage this weekend at the UCD Bowl Stadium.

16 teams will fight it out for one position over the next two days. They will join the 11 sides already qualified for Rio: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, Colombia, United States, France, Kenya, Fiji, Japan and Brazil [host nation]. The Cup champion of the Dublin Sevens is a double-winner and they will head to Deodoro Stadium in Rio de Janiero in August.

Your ‘Possible’ Last Eight

Russia and Spain are expected to qualify from Pool A, with Zimbabwe the outsider of that group. In Pool B, Spain should be the winner, along with Mexico and possibly Venezuela fighting for second qualifier place. In Pool C there is Ireland, the hosts and China, likely contenders and a future powerhouse.

Don’t count out Hong Kong though, as they should top Pool D and have a proud history in Sevens. If they succeed, then the second place is wide open–Argentina, Kazakhstan and the Cook Islands all having a chance to qualify. It will be an exciting weekend for sure.

Dublin Sevens: the LOWDOWN

Pool A (Russia, Samoa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar)

Russia

The Pavel Baranovsky coached Russian Bears side are the top favorites in this two day meet. Knowing that, they must come out with all guns firing to claim that final spot to Rio. Even though they will be missing star player Nadezda Kudinova; who is still out injured, they have other experience players to rely on. Anna Minislamova, Maria Scemchuk, Marina Petrova and their young star Daria Lushina will help carry them through to the Cup stages.

Russian Bears Sevens squad: Anna Minislamova, Daria Lushina, Yulia Guzeva, Daria Bobkova, Baizat Khamidova, Oxana Korobchuk, Marina Petrova, Maria Schemchuk, Elena Zdrokova, Ekaterina Kazakova, Kristina Seredina, Maria Prestiak.

Samoa

Samoa have ladies from all over the sporting world joining their side, in the hope of qualifying to Rio. Accomplished in athletics, touch rugby and netball, they will all come together in a team representing the island nation. With their Men’s team ‘bundled out’ in the final against Spain last week [at the Men’s Olympic repechage tournament] the Manu Sina have the ‘hopes of their nation’ on their shoulders.

In the team are Jerry Collin’s younger sisters Brenda and Helen, who both are promising players. Beside Maitua Feterika, the pair go in hard for those crash balls–reminiscent of big brother Jerry. Sui Peters has the finishing power, and with a young and energetic group, Manu Sina hope to join their Fijiana sisters. They hope to take the place of the men’s side, and deliver on the dreams of these young women and the nation.

Manu Sina Sevens squad: Brenda Collins, Maitua Feterika, Helen Collins, Bela Milo, Va’anessa Molia Fraser, Anne-Helen Rasmussen, Cesca Luafalealo, Keilamarita Pouri-Lane, Sui Peters, Ana Maria Paula Afuie, Apaula Keresiano Enesi, Sieni Mose.

Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean team have some real talent. Even though they are here as second runners-up from the African Qualifiers; behind South Africa who are surprisingly supporting a women’s side at the Olympics, it meant the Kenyan’s had taken the automatic qualification reserved for Africa.

That will see the Zimbabwean ladies trying to join their Kenyan sisters and show that running is not their only strength.

They will be relying on the leadership of young women like Precious Merenge, a star of the side. Simbisai Kadye, Rudibidzai Chabveka and Margaret Magwaro will also work hard to see them to the end in Dublin.

Zimbabwean Sevens squad: Gertrude Masora, Charity Mucucuti, Peace Sithole, Caroline Malenga, Margaret Magwanro, Ruvimbo Privilege Musere, Simbisai Rejoice Kadye, Lindiwe Munerenyu, Constance Ngwende, Precious Marange, Rumbidzai Chimgumbu, Rumbidzai Chabveka.

Madagascar

The ‘biggest little rugby nation’ will be using this tournament as a testing ground for their continued growth. As more women in the African continent take up the sport, competition like this is one such way for them to gauge how far they have come.

Madagascar Sevens squad: Mamy Lalaharison, Laurence Rasoanandrasana, Andoniaina Randrianarijaona, Voahirana Razafiarisoa, Sarinda Sahondramalala, Dinah Raveloarinoro, Claudia RasoarimalalaFelaniaina Rakotoarison, Marie Bodonandrianiana, Farasoa Razafimahefa, Faniry Raholiarivololona, Patricia Ravololonirina.

Final Olympic place up for grabs

Pool B ( Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Tunisia)

Spain

The Spanish finished well in the last two tournaments of the 2015/2016 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series. That is an understatement–even beating qualified Fiji and USA in the process. In Dublin they will be trying to put ‘all they have learned’ into practice get that final spot.

Berta and Patricia Garcia again leads this Leonas side, full of experience but with young speedsters, who given a chance will punish you.

The Spanish side will give their-all to follow Pablo Feijoo’s men to Rio, after the Men’s surprise victory in Monaco. They know from that result ‘anything can happen’ and they also have what it takes to compete. Put that together this weekend in Dublin, and they may create history.

Leonas Sevens squad: Berta Garcia, Paula Medin, Angela Del Pan, Patricia Garcia, Marina Bravo, Elisabet Garcia, Barbara Pla, Amaia, Arana, Maria Casado, Vanessa Rial, Iera Fernandez, Maria Ribera.

Mexico

The Mexicans are trying to follow their American Eagle neighbour at Rio. Although with the sport being very new in their country, they will need to fight all the way to succeed.

A gifted sporting nation, they will use this as a learning curve toward future goals like Tokyo 2020.

Mexican Sevens squad: Michelle Farah, Bertha Landeros, Perla Leyva, Bertha Fernandez, Claudia Rendon, Carolina Sadoval, Georgina Zenteno, Martha Santiago, Daniela Rosales, Maria Hernandez, Ambar Acardia, Rosa Rivera.

Venezuela

The Venezuelan Orchids finished third in the South American qualifier, behind winners Colombia and Argentina. Now they are vying for that single remaining Olympic spot here in Dublin.

That is a great advancement for the Marisell Mendez coached side. Big steps over the last 12 months will see them giving it their all at the UCD Bowl Stadium.

They have a gifted ball player in Ingrid Griffin, with Claudia Contretras as the one of the girls to watch this weekend.

Orchid Sevens squad: Claudia Contretras, Caring De Freitas, Daniela Diaz, Nardelys Alvarado, Marianny Izarza, Carla Lanzarote, Cristy Egido, Jetsy Ferrera, Mariana Romero, Ingrid Griffin, Estefania Salami, Maryoly Gamez.

Tunisia

Tunisia are carrying the hopes of the North African nations. They will be highly motivated to have a team in Rio.

The Mohamed Hedi coached side know what is at stake this weekend, but are out to prove their worth. With a proud history in Olympic Games (both modern and ancient) will this history be enough to earn them a spot in Rio?

They will definitely not go home wanting. One to watch out for an upset or two.

Tunisian Sevens squad: Ameni Gharbi, Dhekra Khemili, Mariem Mekni, Ines Souissi, Amir Letaief, Oumayma Dziri, Amal Dardouri, Islem Abdallah, Rawia Othmani, Saoussen Dellagi, Houda Abdeljelli, Fadoua Najeh.

Women’s Global Repechage Takes Center Stage

Pool C ( Ireland, China, Portugal, Trinidad & Tobago)

Ireland

The hosts will be using all of the vocal support that they can, as motivation. It will be invaluable for them and used to upset the top-bets like Russia, Spain.

The Lucy Mulhall led side is full of experience and adventure. They will use all they have learnt this season in Women’s Sevens Series to compete at the highest level this weekend. Fan support will only go so far, so using the experiences from the 2016 season will really help them advance.

With an injury cloud on Sene Naopu and Claire Keohane, coach Anthony Eddy has called up some experience. Niahm Briggs and Nicole Cronin will carry the sides hopes–names that are synonymous with Irish Sevens.

Also unavailable is Hannah Tyrell but they have a fine core-group in Audrey O’Flynn, Megan Williama, Aoife Doyle and Amee Crowe. They have the Flood sisters; Kim and Stacey to compliment the likes of Ashleigh Baxter.

It might be the best chance for the Irish Sevens to meet the expectation of their fans–they will be out in force to cheer on their women. As host, they must be among the favourites.

Irish Sevens squad: Audrey O’Flynn, Niahm Briggs, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe, Ashleigh Baxter, Nicole Cronin, Aoife Doyle, Lucy Mulhall, Kim Flood, Louise Galvin, Alison Miller.

China

The biggest population on the planet has employed the ‘World of Sevens’ top points scorer Ben Gollings as their head coach. That is only one factor in their future success. While a young, vibrant and feisty Chinese side will turn heads this weekend; like Spain’s men did, this team are the dark horse of the tournament.

They have some exciting players in the squad, including the 2014 Youth Olympics Player of the Tournament Xiao Qian. A hard runner with the ball, she will join Chen Ki Ye in a strong team who will spearhead the Chinese campaign at this Dublin Sevens. 

We have some phenomenal athletes, it’s just a matter of now putting the finishing touches on the team and creating a better understanding of the game.” Gollings told worldrugby.org.

Chinese Sevens squad: Min Yang, Qishi Quan, Leilei Shen, Rong Zhou, Wanting Zhang, Keyl Chen, Hong Yang, Yaoyao Gu, Meiling Yen, Chen Lin, Xiaoqin Liu, Yan Liu.

Portugal

The Portuguese are carrying the hopes of their nation. This is due to the Men’s side who failed to win any games during the HSBC Sevens Series. While the men may have not reached their goals, the women still can.

They have a huge task on their shoulders, in trying to keep the love of the game within their homeland. Sometimes the style of play is just as important–play your own style and fans will again believe.

The Lobos Sevens squad: Lezita Guerreiro, Catarina Antunes, Christina Ramos, Leonor Amaral, Ines Spnola, Isabel Ozorio, Sara Jessica Silva, Arlete Goncalves, Maria Vasquez, Antonia Braga, Catalina Ribeiro, Maria Heitor.

Trinidad & Tobago

The Scarlet’s carry the hopes of the Caribbean Islands–it is also the home of Delon and Steffon Armitage, both members of the England XV’s team.

This powerful women’s side have secret weapons in Kyana Skeete and Nicolette Pantor. Pantor is a hardworker off the ball, who some say is the equivalent of the ‘Women Mountain’ of the Fijiana team, Litia Naiqato.

For T&T, Orella George is tall as Naiqato is–at six foot–so the physical presense of these women are an advantage. Trinidad & Tobago must have the factor of ‘unpredictability’ so will ask a lot of many.

ScarleTTs Sevens squad: Nicolette Pantor, Dalia Jordan-Brown, Akila Shereen Lowman, Latifah Carliste, Kanisha Vincent, Victoria Caliste, Apphia Glasgow, Fayola Jack, Kathleen Stephen, Ornella George, Alesha Bruce, Ayana Skeete.

Enjoy the competition for the remaining Olympic spot

Pool D (Hong Kong, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Cook Islands)

Hong Kong

The Anna Richards coached side was unfortunate not to qualify for Rio in the primary rounds. The Japanese Sakura side came from behind in the Olympic tournament to pip them for the Asian Qualifier positionThat loss was hard to swallow.

Not to be dissuaded, fans hope this is the year that they ‘go all the way’. The competition here is primarily against Russia, Spain, Ireland and Samoa. Good luck to the Hong Kong girls, and to every team.

Hong Kong Sevens squad: Amelie Suere, Ka Man Nam, Nim Yan Lim, Ka Ching  Chang, Tsz Ting Lee, Natasha Olsen-Thorne, Stephanie Cuvelier, Lindsay Varty,Tsz Ting Cheng, Lok Yee  Yuen, Ka Yan Chong, Pak Yan Poon.

Argentina

Argentina were unlucky to lose to Colombia in the South American qualifiers. It was a tough pill to swallow but this side will be out to ‘redeem themselves’ this weekend. The Argentine women will be tough but in reality, must not be too overconfident though.

They hope to join their fellow countrymen, who are one of the favorites in Rio. Possibly, a lack of game time will be their biggest problem but with gold on the line–they will give it their all.

Argentinian Los Pumitas squad: Mayra Aguilar, Gladys Alcaraz, Noelia Billerbeck, Maria Botelli, Rita Cazorla, Magali Fazzi, Isabel Fontanarrossa, Mara Genghini, Sofia Gonzalez, Valeria Montero, Josefina Padellaro, Maria Paula Pedrozo

Kazakhstan

This emerging Asian side was very impressive in the World Rugby Asian Qualifier round but was very unlucky on finals day, as Japan scraped through. They are in Dublin now for ‘vengeance’ but most of all, they hope to increase the following of the game in their homeland. Growth is important for all teams, so the competition development should be as important as the outcome.

Kazakhstan Sevens squad: Veronika Stepanyuga, Nigora Nurmatova, Alina Askerova, Mariya Grishina, Aigerym Daurembayeva, Olessya Terayyeva, Kundyzay Baktybayeva, Anna Yakovleva, Svetlana Klyuchinikova, Balshan Koishybayyeva, Aigerim Akymbekova, Symbat Zhamankulova.

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands will be boosted with the services of a former New Zealand ‘Sevens sister’ team member from the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup –Vanessa Greig. She will be assisted in her central role by younger sister Wairakau Greig, who is a ‘Aircraftswoman’ from the New Zealand Air Force. 

Vanessa was a standout at the Oceania Qualifiers last October. With gold on the line, Grieg will surely enlist her ‘sisters’ willpower in their quest for Olympic qualification.

Cooks Sevens squad: Larissa Marino-Anderson, Teiti-o-te-ra Tupuna, Wairakau Greig, Margaret Nena, Kimiora Nati, Apii Nicholls, Ariona Ieremia, Manea Poa, Beniamina Koiatu, Vaine Greig, Anneka Stephens, Elisabeth Pera.

___________________________________________________________________________

Day One of the Dublin Sevens begins on Saturday, and Last Word On Sports will bring you results from this final Olympic Qualification tournament for 2016.