Spain Wins Dublin Sevens

Spain wins Dublin Sevens to book the final spot to the 2016 Rio Olympics Women’s Sevens Competition. Bringing the total teams qualified to 12. Spain’s qualification means they will take their place alongside Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, USA, France, Japan, Fiji, Kenya, Colombia and host nation Brazil, when the women’s competition gets underway at the Deodoro Stadium on 6 August.

Las Leonas defeated tournament favorites and fellow HSBC World Sevens Series core status team the Russian Bears, in emphatic style 19-12 to cement their spot.

It was a tough two-day tournament, as all teams gave it everything. But in the end, the experience and the technical know how of the Spanish, Russians, Irish and Kazakhstan teams saw them all through to the finals. Each side deserves high praise, but there can be only one winner. Spain!

Dublin Sevens: the LOWDOWN

Spain Books Final Spot To Rio

Patricia Garcia was the toast of the Las Leonas side in the final, grabbing two tries that were both converted. That lead was later reduced by Daria Bobkova, who ran the length of the field to cut the deficit to 14-7 at halftime.

The Spanish had he crowd behind them from the quarter finals stage, with China cheering ”Espana! Espana! Ole! Ole!” and it went echoing around the UCD Bowl all day.

Like a week ago in Monaco; with their Men’s team qualifying, the Leonas stuck to their task well. Nullifying the opposition, each woman fought hard at the breakdown and played like there was no tomorrow. The determination and the belief the players had on each other was superb. Even when tested by the strong Russian women, they never gave in as they hung-on in second half.

The Spanish extended their lead in the second half through standout rover Barbara Pla (Last Word On Sports – Player Of The Tournament). With the conversion missing, the confidence was up. The Russians replied yet again, through their speedster Bobkova who was outstanding all tournament. That narrowed the deficit back to only seven ponts.

It was tooth-and-nail from then on, as the Russians ‘threw everything at them’. Intelligently, the Leonas game plan to keep the Bears at bay in their own, half worked for the Spanish. They shut them down in their own territory, hanging-on to the final whistle and follow their Men’s side to Rio.

Moment of Triumph

Jubilation reigned in Dublin. That moment of triumphant is reflected in the footage (courtesy of World Rugby twitter account)

With an average age of 29 in the Spanish squad, they had the experience to go through. They know what it’s like to compete with the best and how to match the best of Women’s Sevens rugby. The victory was sweet for Patricia Garcia, as she echoed after the game (below):

Ireland Takes Third Spot And Core Status

Ireland was unlucky to lose to the Russians 19-10 in the semi finals. The cruel loss of XV’s captain Niahm Briggs in the 38-0 thrashing of Tunisia in the quarter finals, was a heavy blow. They were already without some of their stars, but reaching the semi is an accomplishment in it’s own.

The Irish then defeated Kazakhstan 17-5; who impressed the rugby world with their brand of sevens. That team will go a long way if they could join the World Series as a core team [in the future]. Undoubtedly, they were the ‘darlings of the tournament’ but the experienced Irish withstood the challenge. In claiming third spot, the Irish have also booked their spot as a core status team to the 2016-17 HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.

Now the Irish team can join Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Spain, Russia, USA, Canada, Fiji and Japan for next season. Kazakhstan meanwhile can go away proud, knowing they have a chance in European qualifying to compete at the top level again.

Elsewhere, it was the Ben Golling’s coached Chinese side that took out fifth spot, beating Argentina 33-0. The Cook Islands bounced back from their disappointment on Saturday, to win the Challenge Trophy 15-12 over Hong Kong. It’s onwards and upwards for Cook Islands, and they will aim toward Oceania tournaments to push for future honours.

All Qualifiers now head to Rio

With all spots filled in the Men’s and Women’s teams,  to compete for the pinnacle of sports, all qualifiers are bracing themselves for the battle ahead. Every side will ‘come out firing’ and wanting to take that Gold medal back home.

The competition will be as hot as the weather. It is one tournament you don’t want to miss either. All fans of rugby, and even if you are not a fan of sevens rugby now–come August, you very well might be.

World Rugby should be commended for the live telecast of both Global Repechage Tournaments online. Fantastic coverage–for mine, they should be looking at airing ‘all tournaments’. Including every Women’s Sevens Series event in 2016/2017. Right now, they only have 2.5 hours of live footage whereas the Men’s tournaments are live-streamed entierly. It will good for the game to expand it’s television content, to grow the women’s game post-Rio 2016.


Follow all the build-up and all the ‘Lowdown’ of the 2016 Rio Olympics Sevens Competition here on Last Word On Sports with Scott Hornell and Jovilisi Waqa. Every match will be covered in full, with pre-tournament analysis right up to the Olympic Gold medal match. Good luck to all.

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