Ten leading international women’s rugby 7s sides will compete in Moscow next month for FIRA’s European title.
Following on from similar FIRA 7s international competitions held in recent months for teams tiered as developing sides, this competition sees the top 10 European nations take centre stage.
The competing teams are England (pictured in action at the 7s World Cup), Spain, Netherlands, Germany, France, Portugal, Russia Italy , Sweden and Finland.
The England and French teams would normally be among the favourites for this competition but both sides will be severely depleted with none of their World Cup players available. Nonetheless both should still be able to name relatively strong squads and they will remain among the top sides at the event being run over the weekend of July 11.
Of the rest Spain and the Netherlands will hope to do well with both putting in serious preparation in recent months.
The Spanish team were runners-up in the last European Championship, losing to England in the final 12-19. Since then the Spanish have intensified their 7s involvement with the squad travelling in recent months to take part in a range of competitions such as the Amsterdam 7s and more recently the West Country 7s in Bath
Spain also launched a National 7s Series for men and women with the final due to be played this weekend.
There will be more to this competition though than first place with team finishing bottom likely to be demoted to the lower tiers of the FIRA divisions for next year depending on entrants next time around.
Finland were promoted last season so will be fighting to retain their place at the top table and Sweden will also represent an interesting case given that they must decide whether to send any of their World Cup players.