Last Word on Rugby Spanish correspondent, Edward Anderson gives us the lowdown on a rare international rugby sevens tournament – the World Rugby Madrid 7s 2021.
Scheduled over two weekends, it will be a pinnacle event for many invited nations; when competition is hard to find in the Covid era. Plus, an update on Leonas 7s and the Spanish XVs sides, as well as a weekly dose of domestic rugby union happening this week in Spain.
World Rugby Madrid 7s 2021
The World Rugby Madrid 7’s kicks off this weekend, another marquee event for the sport that will sadly be behind closed doors. After the canceled World Rugby Under 20 Championship 2020, FERugby has now seen Covid keep the Madrid 7’s closed to spectators. However, it still promises to be an engaging two weeks of 7’s Rugby.
#Madrid7s | ‼️Desvelamos todos los detalles del Madrid Rugby 7s ‼️
2⃣ Torneos: 20 y 21 febrero // 27 y 28 febrero
♂️ T. MASC: 🇺🇸🇫🇷🇦🇷🇰🇪🇪🇸🇵🇹
♀️ T. FEM: 🇺🇸🇫🇷🇰🇪🇪🇸🇵🇱🇷🇺
— España Rugby (@ferugby) February 12, 2021
Leones y Leonas
Eight nations will take part in two competitions over the next two weeks. The Men’s 7’s features three teams heading to the Olympics (touch wood) in USA, Kenya and Argentina. Although Spain can no longer qualify for the Olympics their 7’s team represents formidable competition, with Spain 7’s becoming a core nation in the World Rugby 7’s Series since their 2017 promotion.
Meanwhile, the USA and Kenya have also qualified for the Women’s 7’s in Japan and will provide a stern test for the Spanish team over the next two weeks. The fact that this tournament is taking place at all once again shows the commitment from both World Rugby and FERugby to continue to push the sport in Spain. Although the relationship between FERugby and Rugby Europe is about as warm as winter in Siberia, World Rugby is correct to identify Spain as a market ripe for expansion in Western Europe.
2021 Rugby World Cup qualifiers
If that wasn’t enough, the Spanish Women’s XVs team take on Russia this weekend; the first of two must-win games. Should they beat both Russia and The Netherlands, Spain will join the Rugby Europe qualifier tournament for a ticket to New Zealand.
With the Six Nations a ‘closed shop’ to anyone outside the home nations Women’s tournament, that makes it harder for Spain to level up. Competing against Scotland, Ireland, as well as South Africa in a potential pool B will not be easy if they do make it to the qualifiers. Although in saying that, Spain must make a good account for themselves in all competition – qualification will come from hard work.
It’s a long road for Spain but with participation rates in Spanish Women’s rugby exploding post-Olympic qualification, getting to major tournaments is a vital part of the growth plan for Spanish Rugby Union. Once again, Rugby Europe TV will have the live stream here.
🇪🇦 vs 🇷🇺 SAB 20, 16:00h
🇪🇦 vs 🇳🇱 SAB 27, 16:00h
— Presidente @ferugby (@AlfonsoFeijoo24) February 14, 2021
While the Leonas prepare, so do the England Red Roses. They are just as eager – read Elizabeth Cartwright’s expose on who could guide the Red Roses to World Cup glory?
División de Honor – now playing ‘Catch Up’
It wouldn’t be a Spanish Rugby Union round-up without División de Honor, which this week was catching up Round 7 after postponements. The main takeaway from this week is that it crystalized the top and bottom six in División de Honor. Santboiana’s loss to VRAC and results elsewhere mean that Barca will take the final top-six spot, due to a win against Santboiana earlier this season. That’s not to say the bottom six have nothing to play for, as Independiente’s win over fellow bottom-six side Les Abelles this month means the relegation race is wide open once more. With games still to catch up (including a Copa Del Rey quarter-final), let’s hope División de Honor can move to the business end of the season quickly.
🏉Se aprieta considerablemente la mitad inferior de la tabla tras la recuperación de este duelo de la J8 pic.twitter.com/3JQI8fMM2w
— División de Honor Rugby (@DHFerugby) February 7, 2021
2021- A huge year for Rugby Union in Spain
With Madrid 7’s taking place this month, a national division that will hopefully be able to welcome greater crowds soon, and vital Rugby Union World Cup Qualifiers all taking place this year, it promises to be an exciting and vital year for Spanish Rugby Union.
You can follow Edward on Twitter @HomelessEd3 and for more information on the Madrid 7’s, visit FERugby
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