England regained their U18 Sevens title in Vichy this weekend – their third win in four years.
England’s dominance of the European U18 sevens tournament continued in Vichy, France, this weekend – their third win in the four-year history of the tournament.
But, despite suggestions beforehand, the win will not be enough to send England (or Great Britain) to the Youth Olympics, due to the inclusion of Canada and the USA (who first took part in 2016). Instead a separate Olympic qualifier will take place next spring.
Even so, England/Great Britain will start as favourites to repeat their triumph as they still never lost against European opposition, their defeat last year being against Canada.
England’s win came after finishing top of arguably the toughest pool, including Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallists Wales and last year’s beaten finalists USA.
Defending champions, France, also began well, but slipped up to an impressive performance from Ireland who went onto top Pool A.
Canada – winners of Commonwealth silver earlier this year – romped to a win in Pool C, an otherwise unpredictable pool where Spain lost heavily in all three games, and Netherlands looked certain to finish runners-up before surprisingly losing 7-5 to Portugal.
The highlight of day two was the quarter-finals, which all went down to the wire apart from England’s game with Netherlands, which England won 31-5. Recent Welsh experience may have been the decisive factor in a tight 15-12 win over Ireland, Portugal showed win over the Dutch was no fluke holding their nerve to knock out the USA 7-0, and France sneaked past Canada 10-7.
The semi-finals were not as close, with Portugal’s run coming to an end 28-5 and England seeing off France 17-0, before beating Wales 31-0 in the final.
Pool A: France 48-0 Sweden; Italy 5-27 Ireland; France 5-19 Ireland; Italy 20-7 Sweden; France 47-5 Italy; Ireland 24-0 Sweden
Pool B: England 27-10 Wales; United States 35-17 Russia; England 26-10 Russia; United States 26-24 Wales; England 32-7 United States; Russia 14-29 Wales
Pool C: Canada 17-10 Netherlands; Spain 5-7 Portugal; Canada 54-0 Portugal; Spain 5-20 Netherlands; Canada 45-5 Spain; Portugal 7-5 Netherlands
Challenge semi-finals: Italy 10-0 Sweden; Russia 0-10 Spain
11th place final: Sweden 10-0 Russia
Challenge final: Italy 5-17 Spain
Quarter-finals: Ireland 12-15 Wales; United States 0-7 Portugal; England 31-5 Netherlands; Canada 7-10 France
5th/8th semi-finals: Ireland 15-7 United States; Netherlands 7-10 Canada
7th place final: United States 12-26 Netherlands
5th place final: Ireland 21-24 Canada
Cup Semi-finals: Wales 28-5 Portugal; England 17-0 France
Bronze final: Portugal 0-28 France
Gold final: Wales 0-31 England
The Olympic qualifier in Spring 2018 will feature 16 teams - Great Britain, France, Portugal, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Andorra, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, and Georgia,