The latest Rugby Europe calendar includes the dates and draws for next year’s main sevens tournaments.
U18 Youth Olympic Games qualifier (Vichy 29/30 April)
One of the most significant tournaments comes first. 16 teams take part with the draw based on last autumn’s U18 tournaments:
Pool A: Great Britain, Sweden, Russia and Georgia
Pool B: France, Italy, Germany, Ukraine
Pool C: Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Poland
Pool D: Ireland, Netherlands, Andorra, Latvia
It’s normal to say how unpredictable this is likely to be, but for once we have a pretty good idea who the liekely winners will be because the players will be largely the same as those who took part in the European Championships in the autumn. That was won – pretty comfortably – by England, with Wales finishing runners-up. On paper a combination of the two (plus Scotland, who reached the semi-finals of the second-tier European trophy) would seem to be unbeatable. And there is no prize for being second in this – only the winner qualifies for Montevideo.
Europe’s second tier sevens is next up, ad will be again over two legs, starting in the Dnipro, Ukraine on 24th June (second leg Esztergom, Hungary, July 7/8). 12 teams as usual with Sweden and Netherlands aiming to win promotion back to the Grand Prix. The second leg appears to be two weeks later,
Pool A: Sweden, Hungary, Finland, Austria
Pool B: Netherlands, Czechia, Switzerland, Norway
Pool C: Ukraine, Romania, Latvia, Israel
European Grand Prix
Swiftly following on from the Trophy, starting on 1st July in France, is Europe’s premier sevens, the Grand Prix. Slightly overshadowed this year perhaps by the World Cup, for many teams this will be seen as something of a warm-up before they go to San Francisco.
That said, this year’s Grand Prix is interesting in that it brings the Six Nations teams together after Scotland won promotion last year.
Pool A: Russia, Spain, Belgium, Germany
Pool B: Ireland, Wales, Poland, Scotland
Pool C: France, England, Italy, Portugal
Russia tend to come good in this tournament, and with the second leg at home (Kazan, September 1/2) will be favourites, but with France, Ireland and England snapping at their heels this should be a great series.
June 8-9 in Croatia - exact venue and draw not yet published.