International Rugby Board Chief Executive Brett Gosper has hailed the inaugural IRB Womenâ€™s Sevens World Series tournament in Dubai a huge success and has reiterated the IRBâ€™s commitment to develop the Womenâ€™s Game as the road towards the Olympic Games in 2016 continues. |
Speaking in Dubai after New Zealand beat surprise package South Africa in Saturdayâ€™s final, Gosper said the future of Womenâ€™s Rugby looked extremely bright.
â€śIt is a great time to be involved in Rugby generally but I would say the Womenâ€™s Game is particularly exciting. As we continue to provide them with opportunities, Iâ€™m delighted with the way the players are reacting. They keep pushing the bar higher,â€ť said Gosper.
â€śStaging this first leg of the Womenâ€™s Sevens World Series in Dubai provided a fitting backdrop to what we believe will develop into a popular and competitive series. The quality of Rugby on show in Dubai over the past few days indicates that the standard of the Womenâ€™s Game is on a steep upward curve.â€ť
â€śTo see these well-drilled, skilful athletes in action in front of 40,000 people is very gratifying and we are committed to ensuring that Womenâ€™s Rugby develops apace as we prepare for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.â€ť
â€śThe menâ€™s HSBC Sevens World Series is a well-established and much-loved fixture in the global Rugby calendar and now the women are getting in on the act. We have seen the emergence, in recent times, of newer Rugby nations through Womenâ€™s Sevens, particularly Spain, Netherlands and Russia.â€ť
â€śIndeed, the high level of performance from the Russia team, getting through to the quarter-final of the Cup competition â€“ losing very narrowly to Spain â€“ bodes well for them as they prepare to host Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow next June. I know they will be desperate to perform well in front of their home supporters at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, a former Olympic venue.â€ť
In a ground-breaking move, this inaugural Series for the world's top Women's Sevens players will feature rounds in USA (Houston), China (Guangzhou) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam) as well as Dubai. The eagerly anticipated RWC Sevens 2013 in the Russian capital will provide a dramatic climax finish to the season.
CLICK HERE FOR NEWS AND RESULTS FROM DUBAI |
The system mirrors the men's Series, with each 12-team event featuring six core teams who will play across all four events and six teams who will be invited based on regional tournament rankings, reflecting the IRB's strategic aim to mix the top teams in the world with the best up and coming teams from each of the six IRB Regional Associations. The six core teams for the inaugural Series are Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
Women's Rugby is one of the fastest-growing team sports in the world and in 2016, the finest female players in the world will take their place alongside their male counterparts in Rio de Janeiro when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games programme. The inception of an international Series is a key milestone in the ongoing development of both the competitive standards and the professionalism of the Womenâ€™s Game.
The IRB Womenâ€™s Sevens World Series concept is in line with key strategic objectives set out in the IRB Womenâ€™s Rugby Plan, expanding the Womenâ€™s Sevens international competition model, particularly at the elite level of the Game.
IRB Womenâ€™s Sevens World Series
Round 1 - Dubai: 30 November - 1 December 2012 - 7he Sevens (Winners: New Zealand)
Round 2 â€“ USA: Houston, Texas, 1-2 February, 2013 - BBVA Compass Stadium
Round 3 â€“ China: Guangzhou, 30-31 March 2013 - Guangzhou University Town Stadium
Round 4 â€“ Netherlands: Amsterdam, 17-18 May 2013 - NRCA Stadium
A dominant New Zealand team, displaying a combination of raw power, pace and unparalleled fitness levels, have swept to victory at the first round of the inaugural IRB Womenâ€™s Sevens World Series in Dubai.
Facing perhaps the surprise package of the tournament in the form of an improving South Africa team in the final, the Kiwis showed why they may become just as much a force in womenâ€™s Sevens as their male counterparts, sweeping to a 41-0 win.
New Zealand's Carla Hohepa spoke about her delight after winning the first-ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Dubai.
Having scored two tries in the 41-0 victory against South Africa, the smile could not be wiped from Hohepa's face after the full time whistle.
"It is awesome to be here, the girls played to their game plan and it was perfect out there tonight," said Hohepa.
"Everyone stuck together and executed the basics well and we came away with the tries. The atmosphere is amazing, can't you hear it?!"
Portia Woodman, who also scored in the final was delighted with the victory for a side competing in their first international Sevens event since they were runners-up at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009.
"It feels amazing. It is the best feeling I have felt in years," said the New Zealander.
"It is like we have been together forever, it is awesome. I knew it was a team effort that was going to get us through and we were the best team on the field."
MORE DAY TWO REACTION
Marina Bravo, Spain captain, after semi final defeat to SA: "I am very proud of my team. We never reach until here so we made a good job and we finally came here and we couldn't win against South Africa, but we are very very happy.
"The teams are all very competitive, they have a lot of problems to be first. Always on IRB it is very competitive and is why we want to be here. This is amazing, all this crowd shouting with you and we love it."
Chris Lane, Australia coach, after semi final defeat to NZ: "A couple of injuries never help but that is footy, and you have to deal with it as best you can. But I am really proud of the way the girls dug in and kept having a crack at it. We just go back, put our heads down and continue to work hard. It is a fantastic tournament."
DAY ONE REACTION
Jen Kish, Canada captain: "We have to keep our penalty count down. We also have to keep on to the ball and not let the other teams dictate what we do. We are always trying to come out and give a good fight."
Abi Chamberlain, England captain: "Fantastic result, couldn't have asked for more than that. We got what we deserved I think. We started off quite slowly, but we have built on every game and bonded as a team. If we hit the ground running tomorrow, pick up where we left off today, then we have a good shot."
Tessa Veldhuis, Netherlands, on victory against USA: "It's great. It was a hard game, very physical, they played very well but we are very happy we beat them. One second I just look around and think it is wonderful to play in front of so many people, but then I have to focus on the game."
Chris Lane, Australia coach, on two wins out of two: "This is a great tournament. The crowd is sensational, the competition is tough. We have had two good wins but we have a tough one next against USA. But we are enjoying the experience. Each tournament we come to, the standard gets higher and higher."
Mandisa Williams, SA women's Sevens captain, after victory against England: "It means a lot and it is in the first women's tournament. It is great for us, and awesome, we can't describe it further. It is the first time our game is televised so we put in our best because people back home are watching us and we are so proud to get the win today."
Russia had taken out the plate finals on day 2 of the Dubai womens 7's and the United States had taken out the Bowl final.
30 Nov - 1 Dec 2012
Venue: 7he Sevens
1 New Zealand 34
2 Australia 30
3 England 28
4 Russia 24
South Africa 24