Round Three of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will land in the city of lights for the first time this week. The Las Vegas Women’s Sevens Draw and Pools will see the World Series holders Australia look to regain lost ground on Canada and New Zealand.
After the Dubai event was won by the Kiwi’s and the second round in Sydney was taken out in style by Canada, the Olympic and Sevens Series champions are needing to correct those results. It will be tough, but not past them. What will be favourable is that they are ‘used to winning’. A good habit never leaves, so a weekend to get back into good habits is demanded.
Traditionally a weekend event, adding the women’s competition now see’s the event cover three days. Not only is that more rugby sevens–but it is all the more time to party! So fans will be primed from Friday, to enjoy the bright lights of Vegas, and the shining stars of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Las Vegas Women’s Sevens Draw
When the announcement was made that Vegas would join the circuit, it was a tremendous move forward. It not only added another competitive round for the core teams, but it is one of the more popular stops on the tour. And after the Sydney 7’s did such a superb job–they have a lot to shape up against.
The Sam Boyd Stadium will see both Women and Men compete, with the women beginning the weekend Friday. And with the growing popularity of the women’s game, it will have a big crowd to greet them from the very start, until the cup final at 6pm Saturday.
Pool A – Canada will face France and Russia along with Argentina, who qualified by virtue of being runners-up at the Sudamérica Sevens in Córdoba.
Speaking to worldrugby.com, Canada’s ‘captain fantastic’ Ghislaine Landry said: “I don’t know if we are favourites or not. There was a lot that we did well in Sydney but there were also things that we are trying to improve so we won’t be resting on our laurels.
“We know that there are some great teams here this week and we’ll have to be at our best.”
Canada squad: Brittany Benn, Kayla Moleschi, Sara Kalijuvee, Breannie Nicholas, Caroline Crossley, Charity Williams, Jennifer Kish, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Hannah Darling, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Megan Lukan.
France squad: Rose Thomas, Elodie Guiglion, Chloe Pelie, Jennifer Troncy, Montserrrat Amedee, Fanny Horta, Clemence Gueucier, Cyrielle banet, Carla Neissen, Mathilde Coutouly, Laurelinne Fourcade, Lina Guerin.
Russia squad: Anna Minislamova, Arina Bystrova, Daria Bobkova, Alena Mikhaltsova, Baizat Khamidova, Daria Noritsina, Marina Petrova, Anna Gavrilyuk, Nikolina Riashina, Elena Zdrokova, Kristina Seredina, Mariia Perestiak.
Argentina squad: Eugenia Botelli, Josefina Padellaro, Noelia Billerbeck, Carolina oto, Yamila Otero, Mayra Genghini, Isabel Fontanarrosa, Deborah Fretes Hernandez, Magali Fazzi, Sofia Gonzalez, Valeria Montero, Maria Paula Pedrozo.
Pool B – home side USA facing Spain, Fiji and a resurgent Ireland; who reached the Top 8 in Sydney.
Home town girls, Team USA will have the spotlight on them but it should also be a blessing. Natural motivation means they will fancy themselves. Looking across the field will be a better performing Fiji, but Spain and Ireland will not be easybeats. This pool may be the most even of the three.
United States: Samantha Pankey, Kelly Griffin, Katherina Zackary, Nicole, Heavirland, Ryan Carlyle, Leyla Alev Kelter (see below picture), Naya Tapper, Kelsi Stockert, Joanne Faavesi, Kristin Thomas, Bulou Mataitoga, Nikki Snyder.
Spain squad: Maria Losada, Olivia Fresneda, Amaia Erbina, Patricia Garcia, Uribarri Barrutieta, Sabina Hurtado, Barbara Pia, Cristina Song, Maria Casado, Anne Fernandez de Corres, Iera Echebarria, Maria Ribera.
Fiji squad: Merewai Cumu, Asinate Savu, Raijieli Davenua, Ana Maria Naimasi, Talica Vodo, Pricilla Sauvavi Siata, Rusila Nagasau, Lavenia Tinai, Ana Maria Roqica, Aloesi Nakoci, Miriama Naiobasali.
Ireland squad: Katie Fitzhenry, Hannah Tyrrell, Stacey Flood, Megan Williams, Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Asleigh Baxter, Sene Naoupu, Claire Keohane, Lucy Mulhall, Audrey O’Flynn, Alison Miller, Susan Vaughan.
Pool C – Australia match up against New Zealand, England and Brazil.
The Aussie girls will be keen to claim three wins, but facing the ‘Sevens Sisters’ from across the Tasman, that match will be pivotal to the Day Two draw. And then you throw in England–this is the likely ‘Pool of Death’.
Not to be discounted, Brazil won the Challenge Cup in Sydney and will have plenty of Latino supporters in Vegas. When they cross the try line, imagine the ‘Conga chain’ starting in Vegas and lining all the way to Rio de Janiero. “Bueno, bueno.”
Australia squad: Shannon Parry, Sharni Williams, Georgina Friedricks, Mahalia Murphy, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Chloe Dalton, Emma Sykes, Alicia Quirk, Emilee Cherry, Ellia Green.
There's a big inclusion for our Women's side heading into the Las Vegas tournament. https://t.co/n6GPl8l8ye
New Zealand: Ruby Tui, Alena Saili, Terina Te Tamaki, Niall Williams, Sarah Goss, Michaela Blyde, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Kelly Brazier, Renee Wickliffe, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Portia Woodman, Cheyelle Robins-Reti.
England squad: Natasha Brennan, Abbie Brown, Alica Richardson, Emily Wood, Lauren Cattell, Deborah Fleming, Charlotte Clapp, Kelly Smith, Fran Matthews, Joanne Watmore, Holly Aitchison, Chantelle Miell.
Brazil squad: Juliana Da Silva, Mariana Bicolau, Isadora Cerullo, Edna Santini, Paula Ishibashi, Maira Behrendt, Haline Scatrut, Beatriz Muhlbauer, Luiza Campos, Raqule Kochhann, Bianca Silva, Lariane Pruner.
Day One begins at the early time of 8:17am, but these women will ‘bring it’ from game one, to match number 34: the Cup Final.
Sevens Series Standings
The competition has completed two rounds, and while New Zealand sit at the top of the ladder, they hold a slender lead. Only six points balances the Kiwi’s from Canada, with Fijian making the islands proud, in fourth.
🌎 The series standings for the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series look like this ⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/FoGLrtDzyY
By the end of Day Two, one team will have grabbed the points and the winners cup. It is going to be an enjoyable weekend, and Last Word On Rugby will bring coverage of both the women’s and men’s results over the weekend.
“Main photo credit”