French dominance of both age-group and sevens rugby in Europe continued as their U18 sevens team retained continental sevens title.
France put in an impressive unbeaten weekend in Prague, demonstrating the importance of consistency across all days of a sevens tournament.
The nine-team competition has a complex system that divided the teams into three first round pools. The teams were then reseeded and redistributed across three new pools for a second round of games. Results across both pool rounds produced a top four for the semi-finals, plus three teams to compete for 5th-7th and two to playoff for 8th.
On Saturday morning France sailed through pool, but fellow top seeds Spain and Ireland stumbled against Czechia and England, who topped Pools B and C.
The afternoon of Day One saw the first two rounds of the second qualification phase, and France, Czechia and England continued their unbeaten runs.
Day two dawned with the final round of qualification games. France brushed aside Ireland, and Czechia joined them in the quarters with a narrow in against Scotland.
However, the final qualification match saw Spain turn around a disappointing first day performance with a 12-7 win against England, which was also good enough to get them into get them a semi-final place.
Ireland took fifth with strong wins against Belgium (6th) and Scotland (7th).
Down to the semi-finals, Spain’s spectacularly improved Day Two performance continued as they avenged their Day One pool loss by beating Czechia 19-14 to make the final. France joined them with a big win against England, who went onto continue their disappointing Day Two with a loss to Czechia in the third-place game, three Day One wins being followed by three Day Two loses.
When it came to the final France continued to be on another level, beating Spain comfortably five tries to two, 29-12.
France have therefore swept the board with age group titles, adding the European U18 sevens title to go with the U18 Six Nations and U20 “le Crunch”, along with sevens titles and junior and senior level. In Europe only the Six Nations was missing from France’s trophy cabinet this year.
Pool A: France 62-0 Ukraine; Scotland 45-0 Ukraine; France 48-7 Scotland
Pool B: Spain 14-10 Belgium; Czechia 27-0 Belgium; Spain 14-31 Czechia
Pool C: Ireland 52-0 Poland; England 33-7 Poland; Ireland 20-26 England
Pool D: France 38-0 Belgium; Ireland 40-0 Belgium; France 24-7 Ireland
Pool E: Czechia 36-0 Poland; Scotland 26-12 Poland; Czechia 24-21 Scotland
Pool F: England 57-0 Ukraine; Spain 48-5 Ukraine; England 7-12 Spain
8th place: Poland 43-0 Ukraine
5th-7th place pool: Ireland 29-14 Belgium; Ireland 43-5 Scotland; Scotland 7-15 Belgium
Semi-finals: Czechia 14-19 Spain; France 40-14 England
3rd Place: England 24-36 Czechia
Final: France 29-12 Spain