Thoughts on rugby from Hunter Mabon Senior

Tag: 7s

Brisbane Ladies 7s Results

Hype meets reality in Brisbane. Billed as one of the great sevens tournaments it proved to be something less than that. A completely incoherent presentation of schedules and results made it almost impossible to follow what was happening. When the smoke cleared, Australia with a much bigger squad beat Fiji in the final 24 – 10, while Sweden as far as I can see finished in 11th/12th position, a bit lower than at least I had hoped for.

Sweden started off in a pool along with England, South Africa and Papua New Guinea (PPG). The Sunshine Coast unfortunately provided pouring rain for Day 1 and this obviously detracted from the playing standard. England with a strong team outclassed Sweden 40 – 0 in their first game. In the second one quite a strong South African team dominated for long periods but good Swedish tackling kept the score to 12 – 5. Sweden put up a much better performance in their final match on Day 1, beating PNG 32 – 0. Some strong running from several Swedish players. The games against SA and PNG were both screened, but not I think the English game. Sweden defended well against SA, but their attacking was non-existent. Dropped passes and aimless kicking especially in the second half meant that they remained pinned in their own half. Their one try came from a fine outside break by Tova. They proved physically stronger than PNG, however, and five different try scorers showed what they could do.

These results put Sweden in the 9 – 16 group for Day 2, when the weather was much better. They started off against Poland whom they have battled against in Europe  and did well to win 20 – 12. Not streamed so no details. They then met Macquarrie University, in the SF of the Bowl  one of the four Aussie teams bringing the number of participating teams up to 16. Each of these teams fielded youngish players, although Macquarrie were perhaps the pick of the bunch. Sweden started of well and were up 14 – 0 in no time. But then they seemed to collapse, their strong defence nowhere to be seen.  Macquarrie had a couple of speedsters and they scored at will thereafter, the final count being 38 – 14. This put Sweden 11th/12th  of 16 teams, probably below what they were hoping for..

Of the other long-distance travellers, Wales showed up quite well, primarily due to their outstanding winger Jasmine James. She also beat Sweden single-handed in the European GP last year. Macquarrie showed their worth once again by beating Wales 17 – 14 in the Bowl final.

Once again England started off well but then flattered to deceive. They lost 20 – 10 to a not very impressive French Development squad and missed out on the top four.  Then, against a useful Spanish side they only got home 12 – 10 in the dying seconds. They finished 5th,

Fiji, with a couple of powerful runners cruised along quite comfortably and made it to the final after beating Spain and French Development. The Australian Pearls, the Oz development team, started off on Day 1 with nothing like their national team but they had a large squad and gradually strengthened the team with a few top players throughout the tournament. They pulled away in the final to beat an exhausted Fijiana. Not exactly a level playing field, however. South Africa showed up and down form, but were still strong enough to take 3rd place in front of France Development.

Was it worth Sweden making this long and expensive trip? First of all we should be told who has paid for the trip. If the players made a substantial contribution themselves and only a small amount has come through the Union, then I think we could say it was just about worth it. Two wins out of five against strong opposition was not bad, although there was no evidence that the team could raise its game when required. If the selectively generous Union picked up the tab, it was not worth it and more typical of the hypocrisy with which the Union is riddled. Clarification, please!

Full Results

Pool A: South Africa 22-0 PNG; England 40-0 Sweden; South Africa 12-5 Sweden; England 57-0 PNG; Sweden 32-0 PNG; England 31-0 South Africa

Pool B: USA 19-5 Poland; France Development 31-0 Wales; USA 26-17 Wales; France Development 17-7 Poland; USA 22-5 France Development; Poland 10-33 Wales

Pool C: Fiji 24-7 QAS2; Australia 27-0 QAS1; Spain 39-0 Macquarrie; Japan 19-10 Tribe

Bowl/Shield: QAS2 0-27 Macquarrie; QAS1 15-5 Tribe; Sweden 20-12 Poland; PNG 7-22 Wales

Shield SF: Poland 24-5 QAS2; Tribe 21-24 PNG

Shield Final: Poland 22-10 PNG

Bowl SF: Macquarrie 38-14 Sweden; Wales 22-19 QAS1

Bowl Final: Macquarrie 17-14 Wales

Cup/Plate QF: Fiji 10-5 Spain; Australia 31-5 Japan; England 10-20 France Development; USA 19-21 South Africa

Plate SF: Spain 10-12 England; Japan 28-12 USA

Plate Final: England 45-10 Japan

Cup SF: Fiji 35-17 France Development; Australia 38-5 South Africa

Third place; South Africa 29-14 France Development

Final: Australia 24-10 Fiji


Ladies Seven in Australia

Plenty of smiling faces on the Union´s website, but as usual more or less nothing about the actual tournament in Brisbane. The HSBC World Series was played in Sydney last week and Brisbane is an attempt to piggy-back on the fact that the top twelve teams will already have made the long trip to Australia. The IB talks a good game when it comes to women´s rugby, but they are not so good when it comes to delivering results. The World Series has only managed to get together five tournaments for the 2017 – 2018 season (10 of course for the men) and it was a good idea by Queensland to add another weekend at near top level.
It was only last year Sweden could just scrape together the money to send a men´s team to one of the world´s leading 7s tournaments at Melrose, Scotland. Now it seems 200.000:- has suddenly appeared to finance this trip. The fiction is that the girls will be paying for the trip themselves but that is no doubt part of the secretive, fantasy world inhabited by the Swedish Union.

Not quite clear how the tournament as a whole is being financed. It is run by Queensland Rugby, no entry fee will be charged and there will be entertainment, fancy dress and funfairs. An attempt to popularise the sport, I imagine, and there´s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Eight of the 12 teams remain from the World Series in Sydney. New Zealand, Canada, Russia and Ireland have dropped out; all four were quarter-finalists in Sydney, leaving France, USA, Spain and Australia in action.
The bottom four in Sydney were PNG, England, Fiji and Japan, all now continuing in Brisbane. Newcomers: South Africa, Sweden, Poland and Wales.

The countries playing this weekend are thus: USA, Papua New Guinea, England, Spain, France (Development), South Africa, Sweden, Poland, Wales, Fiji, Japan and Australia. Not clear if it is France or a development team taking part.
The number of teams has been increased to 16 by the addition of a further four Australian teams, perhaps the real reason for the tournament. The matches are being played on two pitches and the tournament will be streamed live. Time difference Brisbane + 9 hours. So you´ll need to get up at three on Saturday morning if you want to watch the matches live.

The Swedish team is as follows:
Emilia Kristiansson (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Rebecca Kearney (Frankrike)
Victoria Peterson (Kalmar RK)
Carina Trinh (Stockholm Exiles RFC)
Emelie Hellgren (Richmond RFC)
Emma Skagerlind (Enköping RK)
Minnona Nunstedt (Vänersborg RK)
Mikaela Korpysz (Stockholm Exiles RFC)
Sanna Westman (Richmond RFC)
Sara Jacobsson (Malmö RK)
Tova Derk (Wasps)
Ylva Schwarts (Kalmar RK)

And the Sat./Sun schedule is:
Day 1:
12.00 USA vs Polen (A) Frankrike vs Wales (A)
12.22 Sydafrika vs PNG (B) England vs Sverige (B)
14.00 USA vs Wales (A) Frankrike vs Polen (A)
14.22 Sydafrika vs Sverige (B) England vs PNG (B)

14.44 (1) Fiji – Queensland Reds 2
15.06 (2) Spain vs Macquarrie
15.28 (3) Australien vs Queensland Reds 1
15.50 (4) Japan vs Tribe 7s

16.20 USA vs Frankrike (A)
16.42 Polen vs Wales (A)
17.06 Sverige vs PNG (B) Loser (1) vs Loser (2)
17.28 England vs Sydafrika (B) Winner (3) vs Winner (4)
18.56 Vinnare (1) vs Vinnare (2)
19.18 Vinnare (3) vs Vinnare (4)

Day 2 will be playoffs, leading to Shield, Plate, Bowl and Cup-tournaments. All teams should get five matches.

How will Sweden get on? Four of the better teams from the World Sevens are gone but easily the best team from that tournament, Australia, remains.
They didn´t concede a single point in their five matches, including beating New Zealand comfortably in the final.
Sweden are in Pool B, facing England, South Africa and PNG (Papua New Guinea). The latter two blow hot and cold, but at their best are excellent teams. The English team all have professional contracts, but embarrassingly for them they could only finish 9th in Sydney. Expect a reaction this weekend.

I would say Sweden have close to their 12 best players on show. They have pace and strength aplenty but judging from last year they have still a lot to learn when it comes to Seven´s technique. They will probably have to improve in these respects if they are to return to and retain their places at the European GP-level.
It will be seen that five of the Swedish girls are now playing abroad. As has been noted elsewhere there is almost no serious ladies´ rugby played in Sweden nowadays and we can only wish them the best of luck as they now play elsewhere.
It is difficult to judge where Sweden stand in this present company. I would hope for the odd surprise result but if they can finish in the top ten, I think they could be satisfied with the trip.

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