France have won an eight-nation tournament in Nice, featuring squads from eight of the countries due to take part in the next round of the World Series in Kitakyshu in April
The Nice Sevens attracted squads from seven World Series nations, plus the hosts and guest team from the next round – Japan.
Although the squads – or at least those that have been published (below) – were not quite full strength, most of the players had World Series experience and were current members of national squads.
James Bailey managed the England squad and explained what he hoped to get out of the weekend:
“The Sydney leg of the World Series at the beginning of February was the last time that this group played competitive rugby so the opportunity to compete in this invitational tournament will be invaluable as we prepare for Japan next month. The last five weeks have provided the squad with some proper recovery time after two back-to-back tournaments, as well as giving us the chance to put some consistent training in.
“Our focus has been on our own game and what we need to do to put ourselves in the best position to win games against some tough opposition. We’re really looking forward to seeing what we’ve been working on put into practice over the weekend.”
The tournament was played as a single pool. France, Canada and Russia ended the first day unbeaten, though Russia dropped a point in a draw against England.
England and Australia both ended the first day with a win, a draw and two losses, with England beating Australia in their final game of the day. Ireland had one win – also over the unpredictable Australians – while Spain’s only success was a draw, again against Australia. Japan lost all of their games.
Day two opened with some surprise results, Spain beating England. France comfortably beat Australia, while Canada and Russia drew – results that gave France a clear lead at the top of the rankings.
In the second round of the day Japan achieved their only success when they drew with England, but at the top France lost their tournament lead after losing to Canada, while Russia drew level with them after beating Australia.
The final round saw France beat Russia and move top, but Canada only needed to beat Australia in the final game to take title – but they unexpectedly lost, giving France the tournament by a single point. Russia were narrowly third. England and Ireland will have been pleased with fourth, ahead of Australia.
Results: Day 1: Russia 15-12 Ireland; Australia 21-21 Spain; France 22-7 England; Canada 25-10 Japan; France 24-7 Ireland; Australia 29-0 Japan; Russia 17-17 England; Canada 19-7 Spain; France 49-0 Japan; Russia 33-12 Spain; Australia 7-17 Ireland; Canada 33-12 England; France 12-7 Spain; Australia 12-22 England; Russia 24-7 Japan; Canada 21-0 Ireland
Day 2: England 17-19 Spain; Ireland 28-10 Japan; Australia 7-33 France; Canada 17-17 Russia; England 12-12 Japan; Ireland 12-7 Spain; Australia 21-26 Russia; Canada 21-19 France; Spain 14-7 Japan; Ireland 10-28 England; France 19-7 Russia; Canada 12-31 Australia
Final standings: France 19; Canada 18; Russia 17; England 13; Ireland 13; Australia 12; Spain 12; Japan 8
Canada: 1. Britt Benn, Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON); 2. Caroline Crossley, Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC); 3. Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RCF (Montreal, QC); 4. Maggie Mackinnon, Rugby Canada Development Academy (Victoria, BC); 5. Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON); 6. Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON); 7. Kaili Lukan, Unattached (Barrie, ON); 8. Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC); 9. Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON); 10. Karen Paquin, Castaway Wanderers / CRQ (Quebec City, QC); 11. Keyara Wardley, Okotoks Lions (Vulcan, AB); 12. Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
England: Lizzie Adam; Holly Aitchison; Abbie Brown (c); Abi Burton; Deborah Fleming; Sydney Gregson (Saracens Women); Emma Hardy; Megan Jones; Alex Matthews; Celia Quansah; Helena Rowland; Emma Uren; Amy Wilson Hardy
France: Julie Annery; Coralie Bertrand; Brandy Cazorla; Anne-Cécile Ciofani; Julie Coudert; Mathilde Coutouly; Caroline Drouin; Joanna Grisez; Fanny Horta; Shannon Izar; Nassira Konde; Marjorie Mayans; Carla Neisen; Séraphine Okemba; Chloé Pelle
Spain: María Losada; Elisabet Martínez; Amaia Erbina; Marina Bravo; Olivia Fresneda; Paula Requena; Iciar Well; Iera Echebarría; Patricia García; Sabina Hurtado; Ingrid Algar; Beatriz Domínguez; Isabel Romón; Bárbara Pla