The last weekend of February saw the Madrid 7s 2021 finale and despite setbacks, it was a worthy sendoff. As well, as predicted in February by this writer, the Spanish women were crowned as the 2020 Rugby Europe Women’s Champions – yet again.
And with this continued success, how is it that one of the most successful women’s teams in Europe, is too often shown by the Tier One countries, a ‘Six Nations shutout’ attitude. If Las Leonas could face those opponents more often, you might wonder just how well the side from the Iberian coast could go.
Now, enjoy a refresh of last weeks action.
Madrid 7s 2021 finale
The second weekend saw Los Pumas crowned champions in the Men’s tournament and Russia in the Women’s. Sadly, with the withdrawal of both France Women and USA Women, the Women’s Madrid 7’s was slightly undercooked. However, there were still bright points, with Poland’s women improving hugely to record two well-deserved wins.
On the Men’s side, although Los Pumas were a class above (see main photo), there were more than enough competitive games to whet the appetite. USA vs Kenya was a barnstormer and Spain’s comeback versus Chile was an excellent watch. However, the game of the weekend was Kenya’s stoppage-time win versus home nation Spain, who found themselves roared on by a passionate band of selected Kenyan guests.
Despite it being closed to a large number of spectators to enjoy, the few Kenyans on hand managed to make enough noise to match the effort of their teams on the field.
— Edward Anderson (@HomelessEd3) February 27, 2021
The balcony that overlooks the pitch had more than enough people to make it feel like a living event. Being the first live sport this reporter has seen since Cantabria in November 2019, you could say there is bias but it really was a fantastic event. Once again, the streaming numbers showed promise with nearly 60,000 for both days. Plus, all the staff involved with the Madrid 7s 2021 finale did an excellent job.
From this reporters feet, there is no doubt that should this be repeated next year. There’s no reason why Spanish Rugby can’t target 10,000 large crowd in 2022!
Spain’s ongoing ‘Six Nations shutout’ harms the sport
Now, a question. What is more of a joke: Italy having their protected spot in the Men’s Six Nations or Spain being locked out of the Women’s? Well if Spain’s 87-0 win over The Netherlands is anything to go by, it’s the second one. When they win so easily all the time, how should the Leonas feel about the artificial glass ceiling imposed upon them?
📊 Desde 2016 #LeonasXV en Europeos:
9️⃣ Partidos 9️⃣ victorias
5️⃣3️⃣0️⃣ Puntos a favor (➕ de 5️⃣8️⃣ media)
2️⃣1️⃣ Puntos en contra (➖ de 3️⃣ media)
— Miguel Danés (@MiDanes) February 28, 2021
At least Georgia have pretty much a guaranteed World Cup every four years, what do the Leonas get? There is no serious justification for Leonas being excluded from competing against Tier 1 Women’s teams regularly. They are now a few games from the Women’s Rugby Union World Cup. They’ll need to beat Ireland on March 13th (provided the World Cup is not delayed) to get one step closer to New Zealand and let’s hope they do. Anything that breaks up the cosy cartel the Six Nations have created should be applauded.
March – a massive month for Spanish Rugby
Last but not least, there were two games over the weekend in División de Honor. El Salvador won their league and cup quarter-final versus Ordizia, and Cisneros beat Santboiana. As we reach the split, the league looks like this:
🔹 Finalizó la primera fase de la @DHFerugby y División de Honor B.
🔹 Irán a la Copa del Rey el Barcelona, el Alcobendas, el Aparejadores y El Salvador.
🔹 La segunda fase comenzará así: pic.twitter.com/Bp2BhL6z2L
— Juan Rugby (@JuanCouselo) February 28, 2021
The top six are guaranteed a playoff spot and two are held for the top two in the bottom section. However, it is the relegation race that will be of most interest for now. With one win separating four teams at the bottom, the teams enter a crucial fight for survival. A full calendar can be found here, with the second stage starting this weekend.
That is how it looks on the domestic front, and with both Women’s and Men’s rugby union Rugby World Cup qualifiers taking place, March is a massive month for Spanish Rugby. Whether it be the beginning of the Rugby Europe 2021, Rugby World Cup qualification opportunity for the Spanish women, and there is the Divison de Honor relegation battle.
Such a wide selection, yet we’ll cover it all. Here on Last Word on Rugby.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images