Category Archives: Inetrnational Sevens

England Women had to settle for a disappointing seventh place finish in the Atlanta leg of the IRB Sevens World Series on Sunday.

Simon Middleton’s side were knocked out of the cup competition by Dubai World Series winners Australia in the quarter-finals, before then losing to America in the Plate semi-finals. That defeat pooled England against Japan for the battle for seventh place which England secured.

England Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton, who took charge of this England side just last month, said: “We are obviously disappointed with the result this weekend. There are some positive elements but we need to have more consistency in our performances.

“We have high expectations of what we can achieve because we have quality players. We know that we have got to deliver quality performances in every game though if we want to achieve the results we strive for.

“There is lots of work to be done this week but the players are up for it. We are all on a steep learning curve but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

England booked their place in the Cup quarter finals after victories over Ireland (32-0) and the Netherlands (19-12) and a 14-5 defeat to reigning world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

Sunday, however, was a different day altogether for England with Australia taking a 17-12 win to secure a place in the semi-finals. England pushed Australia hard for that win, forcing the game into extra time when the match was level at 12-12 at full-time. Wallaby captain Sharni Williams was decisive in the extra period though and put the vital points on the board.

England, however, failed to pick themselves up for the Plate semi-finals with the USA’s Jessica Javelet running in a hat-trick of tries to seal a convincing 5-19 victory.

England regrouped for the final match against Japan, taking a 19-12 win. A hat-trick of tries from Natasha Brennan and two conversions from Sarah Mckenna secured the win.

England now sit fifth in the World Sevens Series ranking ahead of round three which kicks off this Friday in Sao Paulo.

England Sevens

Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond) Natasha Brennan (Richmond) Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond) Heather Fisher (Worcester) Francesca Matthews (Richmond) Sarah McKenna (Saracens) Leanne Riley (Saracens) Emily Scott (Thurrock) Sally Tuson (Saracens) Danielle Waterman (Bristol) Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol) Michaela Staniford (Wasps)

England Atlanta Playing Schedule:

England 32 Ireland 0 – Tries: Brenna (3), Waterman, Allan, Chamberlain Conversions: Brennan

England 19 Netherlands 12 – Tries: Allan, Brennan, McKenna Conversions: McKenna (2)

New Zealand 14 England 5 – Tries: Waterman

England 12 Australia 17 – Tries: Chamberlain, Allan, Conversions: McKenna

England 5 USA 19 – Tries: Wilson-Hardy

England 19 Japan 5 – Tries: Brennan (3) Conversions: McKenna (2)

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England Women reach World Sevens Series Atlanta Quarter Finals

England Women Sevens booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Atlanta leg of the World Series on Saturday night and will now face Australia in the final eight.


England’s Natasha Brennan

A new looking England side recorded victories over Ireland and the Netherlands but fell to a 14-5 defeat to reigning world champions New Zealand in the final round of pool matches.

Richmond’s Natasha Brennan secured a hat-trick of tries in an opening 32-0 defeat of Ireland, whilst Danielle Waterman, returning from a long term injury, Claire Allan and captain Abigail Chamberlain also added tries.

England then put 19 points on the Netherlands in a 19-12 victory with Brennan and Allan once again on the score sheet. Sarah McKenna also added a try and two conversions.

In the final match of the day Waterman was the only scorer in the 14-5 defeat to New Zealand. England now take on Dubai World Series winners Australia in the quarter-finals at 5:22pm GMT today.

New England Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton said: “We played disciplined and intelligent rugby for most of the day, translating areas we have discussed in training into games. However, we recognise that we still have plenty to work on but we have a really good baseline showing us where we are.

“Although we are disappointed we didn’t beat New Zealand we are generally pleased with the performances on the opening day. We know we have to step up again if we are to progress any further in the tournament.

“We know Australia is going to be a huge challenge. They are a skilful, physical and a dynamic side. They showed in Dubai how dangerous they are and what character they have.”

England Sevens

Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond)

Natasha Brennan (Richmond)

Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond)

Heather Fisher (Worcester)

Francesca Matthews (Richmond)

Sarah McKenna (Saracens)

Leanne Riley (Saracens)

Emily Scott (Thurrock)

Sally Tuson (Saracens)

Danielle Waterman (Bristol)

Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)

Michaela Staniford (Wasps)

England Atlanta Playing Schedule:

February 15

England 32 Ireland 0

Tries: Brenna (3), Waterman, Allan, Chamberlain

Conversions: Brennan

England 19 Netherlands 12

Tries: Allan, Brennan, McKenna

Conversions: McKenna (2)

New Zealand 14 England 5

Tries: Waterman

February 16

5:22pm GMT England v Australia

Knock out matches TBC

England Women set for Sevens World Series leg in Atlanta

England Women’s Sevens captain Abigail Chamberlain is looking forward to leading a new look England side at this weekend’s IRB World Sevens Series in Atlanta (February 15-16).


Chamberlain will captain England Sevens in Atlanta

England head into the second round with a new Head Coach in Simon Middleton and England also welcome the return of experienced Sevens players Danielle Waterman and Heather Fisher. Waterman has not played for England since November 2012 whilst Fisher last featured at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June.

“This is an exciting squad with some notable returnees,” said Chamberlain, who was part of the England team that finished fifth in the season opening round in Dubai. “Heather Fisher is always a force to be reckoned with whilst Danielle is an amazing player who can create opportunities out of nothing. I’ve never played with Danielle before so I am really excited about being able to do so.

“All the players in this squad have now played on the World Series so that will stand us in good stead whilst we have really enjoyed our preparation time with Simon coming in with some fresh and exciting ideas.”

Chamberlain’s side face a tough pool for the second round, with world champions New Zealand, the Netherlands and Ireland all in their pool, but Chamberlain is not fazed.

Chamberlain added: “The competitiveness of Sevens has really increased over the last couple of years so all the pools are tough these days – we are not going into this tournament thinking we have got it any harder than any other team to be honest. We’ll concentrate on our game and hopefully the results will take care of themselves.”

England, meanwhile, have been forced to make a late change to the squad with the experienced Michaela Staniford coming in for Lydia Thompson who picked up an injury in the Six Nations against Scotland at the weekend.

England Sevens

Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond)

Natasha Brennan (Richmond)

Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond)

Heather Fisher (Worcester)

Francesca Matthews (Richmond)

Sarah McKenna (Saracens)

Leanne Riley (Saracens)

Emily Scott (Thurrock)

Sally Tuson (Saracens)

Danielle Waterman (Bristol)

Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)

Michaela Staniford (Wasps)

England Atlanta Playing Schedule:

February 15

7:50pm GMT England v Ireland

10:34pm GMT England v Netherlands

1:18pm GMT New Zealand v England

February 16

Knock out stages TBC

IRB confirms Sevens qualification process for 2016 Olympic Games

The South African Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams can qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio if they can secure a top four finish in their respective 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series competitions.

The International Rugby Board (IRB) confirmed on Thursday how Olympic qualification for 2016 in Brazil would work.

This follows ratification by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the inaugural Rugby Sevens qualification process that will feature a blend of the existing men’s and women’s Series structures, regional competitions and a world play-off, ensuring universal representation and the participation of the best teams and players.

Under the qualification structure for the men’s competition, four nations will qualify from the 2014/15 Sevens World Series, one nation from each of the six IRB regional competitions, one from the world play-off and automatic qualification for Brazil.

The women will follow a similar format with four teams confirmed via the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, six from the regional competitions, the world play-off winner and automatic qualification for Brazil.

South Africa is currently leading the men’s World Series standings by a slender margin over rivals New Zealand. However, qualification for the much anticipated 2016 Rio Olympics will no doubt intensify closer to the global sporting event, to be held just over two years from now. The Springbok Sevens will thus be aiming to clinch a top four finish on the 2014/15 World Series standings, which should guarantee them Olympic qualification.

The Springbok Women Sevens, meanwhile, finished the 2012/2013 World Series in eighth position, however, they remain outside of the core group featuring on the 2013/2014 circuit. The women, however, will be looking to secure a place in the core group in the 2014/2015 season following SARU’s decision to award contracts to 15 players in the elite Sevens Women’s squad.

The IRB’s announcement that the host nation’s men’s and women’s teams will automatically qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Rugby Sevens events underscores the growing strength of Rugby in Brazil and the IRB’s commitment to further drive growth of the sport across a nation where Rugby participation has grown by more than 25% since 2011.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The decision to include Brazil is good for Rugby, good for Brazil and good for the Games. Rugby in Brazil is experiencing rapid growth and inclusion will generate further impetus and excitement, while giving the Brazilian Rugby family and sports fans across the nation something really special to look forward to at their home Olympic Games.

“We are excited and honoured for Rugby Sevens to be making its Olympic Games debut in Rio and believe that the Games will be great for Rugby and Rugby will be great for the Games. We are working in partnership with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and the IOC to deliver a Rugby Sevens event that delivers outstanding competition, showcases our most skilful players, delivers a very special vibrant atmosphere and engages new and young audiences around the world.”

According to Mr. Lapasset The IRB will continue to collaborate with the Brazil Rugby Union and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to further the profile and reach of the Game in Brazil in the countdown to the Games.

Mr. Lapasset added: “We are delighted to be announcing a truly global qualification structure that presents the opportunity for all our Member Unions to participate, ensures at least one team from each IRB region qualifies and delivers the best teams and players to ensure Rugby Sevens contributes significantly to the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“This structure comes with the full support of our national Member Unions, who are excited at the prospect of competing on the world’s greatest sporting stage and showcasing Rugby Sevens to new audiences in Brazil and around the world.”

  • South Africa can qualify with Top 4 finish in 2014/15 World Series
  • Brazil Men and Women guaranteed 2016 Rugby Sevens Place

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Gillespie recalled to Scotland 7s



Scotland 7s have called Darren Gillespie into their squad for this weekend’s Wellington 7s (7-8 February).

The back-row player, in XV-a-side rugby, has previously won four caps for the abbreviated national team and replaces winger Lee Jones, who has returned to join Glasgow Warriors on loan from Edinburgh Rugby, as injury cover for their forthcoming RaboDirect PRO12 matches.

Scotland 7s head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “Lee has been given an opportunity to have game time in the RaboDirect PRO12 which is great for him as a player and although disappointing to lose him, we are fortunate enough to call on Darren Gillespie who has been living in New Zealand in Christchurch and therefore able to join up with the squad.

“Darren brings with him previous experiences in the HSBC Sevens World Series and has played both rugby union and league, while working here.

Scotland 7s will meet Canada (midnight, Friday 7 February), Argentina (3.09am) and USA (5.56am) on day one in New Zealand. All times are UK.

Scotland 7s squad to compete in the Wellington 7s (7-8 February): Scott Riddell, Finlay Gillies (Glasgow Warriors), Struan Dewar, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor (captain), Mark Robertson, Darren Gillespie (Hornby Panthers’ / Jed-Forest), Michael Maltman, Russell Weir, Andrew Turnbull, James Johnstone and Gregor Young.

Springbok Sevens chase unique triple crown

The Springbok Sevens team head into the weekend’s Wellington Sevens in New Zealand looking for a third successive tournament title in what would be a first for the South Africans.

 

The last time any team could win three consecutive tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series, was in 2010 when Samoa took the honours in the USA, Australia and Hong Kong.

 

Thanks to their recent Cup victories in Las Vegas and Port Elizabeth, South Africa currently enjoys a slender one point lead over HSBC Sevens World Series champions New Zealand at the top of the standings.

 

A much sought after win in Wellington will be the Springbok Sevens’ third Cup victory of this season, equaling their achievement from the 2012/13 season.

 

South Africa’s last Cup success in New Zealand was 12 years ago, and on Friday the Springbok Sevens will have to navigate a strong pool consisting of Wales, Portugal and defending tournament champions England, before they can turn their attention to the knockout stages.

 

After securing fourth place at the season opening Gold Coast tournament in Australia, the Springbok Sevens struck a rich vein of form which saw them finish runners-up in Dubai before their successive wins in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas.

 

On Wednesday however, SA Sevens coach Neil Powell and captain Kyle Brown both cautioned against the dangers of complacency in the New Zealand capital, where the hosts and the likes of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will no doubt enjoy huge crowd support.

 

Powell, in his first season as head coach of the Springbok Sevens, said the team has worked hard in training in preparation for another tough tournament.

 

“Although we are thankful for the Cup win in Vegas, we will not get carried away or lose focus,” said Powell. “We managed to achieve all our goals (in Las Vegas), but that event is now behind us and we have to be ready from the first whistle in Wellington.”

 

The USA tournament, according to Powell, was an extremely physical affair and the team was therefore grateful for the extra week’s rest, which also gave injury replacements Jamba Ulengo and Kwagga Smith enough time to hook up with the squad in New Zealand.

 

“We used the extra week as a recovery period and then made sure we hit the deck hard on the training field after arriving in Wellington. Jamba and Kwagga have slotted in well since joining us and squad is forward to the challenge,” said Powell.

 

Powell’s caution was echoed by his captain.

 

“This weekend it’s all about consistency and for the guys to be humbled and grounded,” explained Brown during the annual street parade in Wellington on Wednesday. “We are not yet halfway through the season and the end hasn’t been written so we know we still have a lot of work to do, which continues here in Wellington.”

 

Brown and his teammates are also well aware of how tough it will be to win on New Zealand soil: “We know it is a very difficult tournament and obviously we have not won here since 2002, so we are trying to put more emphasis on it.

 

“We know for any side to win it will be tough, and we have a tough day one with matches against Wales against which is always a tough game, Portugal and ending up with England.

 

“But just like at any other tournament we will focus on our first match first, against Wales, and that will be a good knockout but if we can come unscathed out of the pool, who knows?”

 

So far this season, the Springbok Sevens have built their game around brilliant defence – they conceded only 14 points en route to victory on the narrow field at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas. It comes as no surprise, then, that Brown believes defence will win the tournament in Wellington.

 

“It will be different for all the teams this weekend, moving from the narrow pitch in Vegas to the wider one here in Wellington. There will be more emphasis on defence and teams will also have to be smarter in attack, but we are looking forward to it,” said Brown.

 

“We always talk about how you can get by with solid attack alone on day one but this tournament will be won by defence and we will keep working hard on that and pushing that culture to make sure we stay solid enough to hopefully win another title.”

 

Kenya, coached by former Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu, was drawn in a tough pool which consists of powerful Samoa, Australia and Tonga.

 

The Springbok Sevens’ Pool A fixtures on Friday (SA times, live on SS):

03h24: Wales

06h12: Portugal

10h34: England

 

The Springbok Sevens squad for Wellington (with number of World Series tournaments in brackets):

Kyle Brown (captain, 37), Chris Dry (32), Philip Snyman (19), Frankie Horne (54), Kwagga Smith (1), Werner Kok (4), Branco du Preez (27), Stephan Dippenaar (17), Justin Geduld (8), Cecil Afrika (28), Sampie Mastriet (6), Jamba Ulengo (8)

 

The current HSBC Sevens World Series Standings:

1. South Africa    78

2. New Zealand     77

3. Fiji                      56

4. England               53

5. Samoa                  47

 

The pool draw for Round 5 in Wellington:

Group A – South Africa, England, Wales, Portugal

Group B – New Zealand, France, Fiji, Spain

Group C – Canada, Argentina, Scotland, USA

Group D – Samoa, Australia, Kenya, Tonga

England Sevens: Callum Wilson and Mat Turner called up for Wellington

 

England Sevens wing Callum Wilson

CALLUM WILSON has been handed his HSBC Seven World Series debut and Mat Turner returns to the side as England prepare to defend their Wellington Sevens title in New Zealand.

Former Loughborough Student Wilson and 2011-12 series top try-scorer Turner take over from Christian Lewis-Pratt and Alex Gray for the global tour’s fifth leg at the Westpac Stadium on February 7 and 8.

England lifted the title last season after ambushing New Zealand in the pool stages, then defeating Kenya in extra time to win the final 24-19 thanks to Sam Edgerley’s decisive try.

This season they start with another tough draw, taking on current series leaders South Africa, Wales and Portugal in Pool A.

Wilson, 23, is a 17st wing whose ball-carrying power and ability to break tackles was evident against Wales in England’s pre-season preparations at Bath University.

England Sevens Head Coach Simon Amor said: “It’s a good opportunity for Callum. It’s his first tournament in international sevens. He’s got lots of potential and lots to learn.

“He’s a big guy and he’ll add his physicality to the team, while Mat Turner’s a super talent and this is a great chance for him to come back in and make an impact.”

While England are defending their title, Amor is concentrating on improving their performance levels on last month’s outing in Las Vegas, where England won the Plate and finished fifth overall after a quarter final defeat at the hands of New Zealand. They are fourth overall in the series rankings.

“It’s important to understand that this is a different team in a different year,” Amor said. “What’s important for us now is taking steps forward and improving on our performance in Las Vegas.

“We showed some glimpses of what we can do there but overall we didn’t perform at the levels we aspire to. The habits are not in place yet and we’ve got to concentrate on the fundamentals of our game to make progress.”

The Wellington pool stages on Friday see England face Portugal (01:45 GMT), Wales (04:33) and South Africa (08:34).

“South Africa are a fantastic team with lots of powerful players and they’re playing a good style of sevens,” said Amor.

“They’ll be a big challenge for us but at the same time Wales and Portugal are equally difficult to play and hugely physical, so it’ll be a great test.”

England Sevens: Dan Bibby, Phil Burgess, Chris Cracknell, Mike Ellery, Tom Mitchell (captain), Dan Norton, James Rodwell, Tom Powell, Mathew Turner, Marcus Watson, Jeff Williams, Callum Wilson

England Women’s squad named for Atlanta leg of World Sevens Series

England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Simon Middleton has named his 12-woman squad for the second round of the IRB Sevens World Series in Atlanta, USA (February 15/16) and the first of his tenure.

Middleton, who joined the England coaching set-up in January, has named Richmond’s Abigail Chamberlain as captain of a squad who’ll be looking to improve on their fifth place finish in the series opener in Dubai in December.

England also welcome back some experienced names to the squad with Bristol’s Danielle Waterman and Worcester’s Heather Fisher returning from injury. Waterman has not played for England since November 2012 whilst Fisher last featured at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow in June. Richmond’s Claire Allan has been named as vice-captain.

Middleton said: “This is a really exciting squad with players of real quality throughout. Some of it is raw talent, players like Emily Scott and Amy Wilson-Hardy for example, and they’ll continue to learn a lot from experiences like this whilst it is also fantastic to welcome back the likes of Danielle and Heather. I think Abi and Claire will also play a significant role as they have a lot to offer this squad in terms of experience and leadership.”

England face a tough pool for the second round, being drawn against world champions New Zealand, the Netherlands and Ireland but Middleton is not phased. He added: “Yes of course it is a tough pool but at the same time the standard of the game has risen so much that I think there are no easy pools anymore. Our priority is to look after ourselves, perform the way we want to and if we can do that, then hopefully the results will follow.”

England Sevens

Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond), Natasha Brennan (Richmond), Abigail Chamberlain (C) (Richmond), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Sarah McKenna (Saracens), Leanne Riley (Saracens), Emily Scott (Thurrock), Lydia Thompson (Worcester), Sally Tuson (Saracens), Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Amy Wilson-Hardy (Bristol)

England Atlanta Playing Schedule:

February 15

7:50pm GMT England v Ireland

10:34pm GMT England v Netherlands

1:18pm GMT New Zealand v England

February 16

Knock out stages TBC

Blitzbokke change two for Wellington tournament

The injured Springbok Sevens duo of Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman will return to South Africa and will be replaced by Jamba Ulengo and Kwagga Smith for the Wellington Sevens on 7 – 8 February, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) confirmed on Thursday.

The two wings sustained ankle injuries during last weekend’s Las Vegas Sevens, where the Bok Sevens team won the tournament title for a second successive year.  Smith and Ulengo will join the squad on Saturday.

Justin Geduld (knee) and Sampie Mastriet (ankle) also suffered minor niggles in Las Vegas but they should be ready for selection for next weekend’s action in the New Zealand capital.

Senatla, despite not playing in the Cup final against New Zealand, was the top try scorer in Las Vegas with six tries in his first World Series outing of the season after he had missed the previous three rounds because of a lower back injury.

Specman, the Steval Pumas wing, made his full Springbok Sevens debut in the USA. The two injured players will arrive back in South Africa on Saturday.

Speaking from Las Vegas where the team spent a few extra days before flying out to New Zealand, Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell said the team is looking forward to maintain their good form and consistency.

Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, speaking from Las Vegas where the team spent a few extra days before flying out to New Zealand, said he was fortunate to be able to call on two good replacements thanks to the overall strength of the Springbok Sevens’ wider training group: “Jamba was perhaps unlucky to lose out on selection for Las Vegas after a good tournament in PE, while Kwagga has a very good work rate and should be able to slot in easily amongst the other more experienced forwards.”

Powell said he would move impressive and versatile youngster Werner Kok out to wing while adding Junior Springbok flanker Smith to the forwards. Kok has impressed since making his Bok Sevens debut only four tournaments ago and it was his power run and try that clinched the Cup against NZ in Las Vegas.

Powell added: “Our main goal this year is to establish a good level of consistency by reaching the Cup semi-final of each tournament,” said Powell. “The players have responded well so far to the challenge and I am very pleased that we are currently on track.”

South Africa finished fourth at the Gold Coast, second in Dubai and they were crowned champions in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas, lifting them to the top of the World Series standings.

The Bok Sevens’ Pool A opponents next Friday in Wellington are Wales, Portugal and England.

The revised Springbok Sevens squad for Wellington (with no of tournaments in brackets):

 

Kyle Brown (captain, 37) Chris Dry (32) Philip Snyman (19) Frankie Horne (54) Kwagga Smith (1) Werner Kok (4) Branco du Preez (27) Stephan Dippenaar (17) Justin Geduld (8) Cecil Afrika (28) Sampie Mastriet (6) Jamba Ulengo  (7)

SCOTTISH RUGBY: Robertson and Turnbull fly to New Zealand



Mark Robertson and Andrew Turnbull (pictured) have been called out to New Zealand for the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington, next weekend (7-8 February).

The pair are replacing John Houston and Scott Wight who fly home following the Las Vegas 7s last weekend.

Head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “We’re delighted to be able to call on the experience of two specialist sevens players to join us in Wellington.

“John, unfortunately has suffered an injury to his hand and Scott, with the extra week between the two tournaments, will now return to Glasgow Warriors duties.”

Scotland 7s will meet Canada (Midnight, Friday 7 February), Argentina (3.09am) and USA (5.56am) on day one in New Zealand. All times are UK.

Scotland 7s squad to compete in the Wellington 7s (7-8 February): Scott Riddell, Finlay Gillies (Glasgow Warriors), Struan Dewar, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor (captain), Mark Robertson, Lee Jones (Edinburgh Rugby), Michael Maltman, Russell Weir, Andrew Turnbull, James Johnstone and Gregor Young.

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