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:
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.