England won the first leg of the European Sevens Series with a convincing win over an ever improving Russia side in the final in France at the weekend.
England went through the weekend unbeaten and powered to a 30-7 win in the final with two tries each for Jo Watmore, Kat Merchant and Michaela Staniford.
Russia and England had met in the pools stages on the opening day of the weekend, with England narrowly edging it 7-5, but they were comfortable winners in the final.
The tournament in Brive is the first of two to decide the women’s European Sevens Champions for 2013, with the second leg taking place in Marbella in two weeks’ time.
In Pool A, England went five from five with wins over Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Wales and Portugal while Russia were runners up. Wales finished bottom of the pool - their results, along with Scotland's in Pool B, highlighting that experience and ability in the 15s game is no longer enough to enable competitiveness in the rapidly progressing women’s sevens game.
In Pool B, hosts France went unbeaten in a strong showing as they continue to build up to the World Cup. Spain were runners up with four good wins, while it was a disappointing showing from the promising Ukraine team who could just manage one win – over Scotland who also finished the pool stages winless.
In the first Cup Semi England beat last year’s finalists Spain. In dominant form, they ran out 26-0 winners with Heather Fisher this time adding a brace. Staniford and Watmore were on the scoreboard once again and Emily Scarratt added three conversions. The second Cup semi was much closer with Russia and France going head to head. Russia went 12-0 up with tries from Nadezda Yarmotskaya and Baizat Khamidova but France came back into the game in the second half with two tries of their own through Lina Guerin and Christelle le Duff – but neither were converted.
In the Plate Semis Netherlands hammered Italy 29-0 – Annemarije van Rossum grabbed two in a good performance while Ireland overcame a stubborn German side winning out 14-33 with Lynne Cantwell and Niamh Briggs showing well. Ireland went on to continue their record of plate wins (four in a row now) by taking the fina 12-7l, coming back from 7-0 behind with tries from Shannon Houston and Lynne Cantwell.
In the Bowl Portugal beat Scotland and Wales beat Ukraine in the Semis, Portugal going on to lift the bowl trophy with a 17-7 win in the final
See here for all of the results
Cup Final: England 30 Russia 7
3rd place: Spain 35 France 5
Plate Final: Ireland 12 Netherlands 7
7th place: Italy 24 Germany 0
Bowl Final: Portugal 17 Wales 7
11th place: Ukraine 19 Scotland 0