The semifinal matches of the second leg of the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Grand Prix Series saw Russia beat Ireland to move to the final match. England earned the second berth in the title event. The relegation matches ended with the victories of Wales, Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Russia vs Ireland: 27-5
The semifinal match turned out to be a challenge for the tournament’s hosts but the Russian rugby players strictly followed their coach’s guidelines and managed to take control of the game. The Irish team failed to show a good team play and is going to play in the third-place match.
"The game against Ireland wash very tough, it is a good, experienced team, but we were ready to face them. We tried as hard as we could and did our job well. That is the key to success," says Daria Bobkova.
"We knew the game wouldn't be easy, we had our instructions from the coach before the game. Moreover, at the match against Poland we made some mistakes as well. Our main goal was to put much pressure on their defend and to seize every chance. We were playing at the home ground, so we went on the field to fight. There is no mercy in sports," she added.
Daria Bobkova also shared her thoughts on the match against Ireland,
"Perhaps we had a psycological edge. Anyway, we are used to show our class on the field. To compete for every moment, not to let the rival to have an inch, a second of advantage."
England vs France: 26 - 15
The second semifinal brought together two best ‘rugby frenemies’ – England and France. The match was everything one could wish for, as confirmed by numerous fans and rugby enthusiasts. First the English team took the lead, then the French rugby players almost managed to tie the game. The two-time European champions eventually gained the upper hand but the French defender’s unfortunate mistake enabled Team England to spurt into the lead. As a result, France had no strength and time left for a comeback win, and England celebrated victory in this match.
"The match was just incredible. I learnt about the tournament by chance - I was walking down the Baumana street, and a girl gave me the flyer. I took it and decided to go. I was not disappointed - I saw the triumph of the Russian team and other matches. The second semifinal was especially on top: intrigue, emotions, and unexpected ending. I will watch the games more from now on," said the spectator Evgenii.
"It was a difficult game, but we played as a team and that is why we won, I think. We beat France, now it is the game against Russia we will play. It won't be easy, that is true, besides, the Russians play at home. Anyway, we are not afraid of anyone and any match we play with determination and our spirit lifted," tells the English player Deborah Fleming.
Poland vs Portugal: 14 - 10
The teams of Poland and Portugal played in the decisive match for a spot in Rugby Europe’s top division. The game was intense, interesting and action-packed. In the end, it was Karolina Jaszczsyszyn’s productive wing run that brought victory to Team Poland.
The star of the match and the captain of the Poland team also gave her comments about tha game.
"It was a difficult game, as Portugal has a strong and young team with great speed. We prepared a special tactics for the game, but still it wasn't easy for us at all. The physycal state is most important at the decisive games. We realised the importance of the match, so we prepared well, and practiced even more than usual. The task is done - we remain in the top 8, but we are going to compete for the 5th place agaisnt Wales anyway. We will try to place first of all for pleasure and to prove everyone, that Poland rugby is a serious business."
Karolina is sure that her team's performance on the international level will help to develop the sport in her country,
"Rugby is gaining its popularity. A year ago we entered the top 12, and the school girls saw the result, so they started to engage as well. I hope we will become a great rugby country as France."
Belgium vs Wales: 5 - 27
The teams that lost in the quarterfinals met on the pitch to compete for points in the world rankings. The Welsh were the favorites of the match and they won, although the game was tough and challenging.
"The team got ready for the game and won it. It was really very important to take a crown at this math, as we could left the top rankings and go down to the first division," admitted the player from Wales Hannah Jones. "We like it here in Kazan, I hope we will come back here many times. In Wales rugby is pretty well-known, but in Russia you have some people who are interested in it as well."
Italy vs Sweden: 12 - 21
Just like Team Sweden, Italy has not won any matches at the Kazan tournament yet. The battle between these two countries was supposed to bring a long-awaited victory for one of the teams. Eventually, thanks to their successful wing tries and kicks, the Swedish team managed to gut out a win.
"We are pleased with the results of the match, but not with the tournament. We left the top ranking, which is not good at all. We will try to make a comeback the next year," said Rebecca Kearney from Sweden.
"The organisation of the event is on top. I heard about Kazan, it's a very beautiful country. People here are kind and warn-hearted. You can see they love rugby. It's not at all as in my country, in Sweden, where people can't tell sometimes rugby from the American football."
Netherlands vs Spain: 24 - 12
The Spanish team only started to experience a comedown after the previous match but had to suffer yet another overwhelming defeat. This time the Spanish girls lost the game to the Dutch team who were also not in their best shape in Kazan and have been struggling through the entire tournament.
"We won the match thanks to our tactics. Rugby in the Netherlands is getting its popularity, and we need to show the good results for our fans," said Loraine Laros from Holland.
Media and Communications Department of Directorate for Sports and Social Projects