Brazil women claim final place at RWC Sevens(IRB.COM) Monday 25 February 2013
By Frankie Deges, in Rio de Janeiro
Brazil may have won the CONSUR Sevens Championship for a ninth consecutive year, but their celebrations were just as loud as the first time back in 2004.
The added bonus this time was that Brazil, as South American champions, have claimed the 16th and final place at Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which takes place in Moscow, Russia, from 28-30 June.
Despite their dominance in the region, Brazil had to fight very hard in the final against an Argentina team coached by Santiago Gómez Cora, the all-time leading try-scorer in IRB Rugby Sevens history, that has shown a renewed confidence and spirit.
The women’s final was the last match played at Estádio da Gávea in Rio de Janeiro under intense heat – temperatures hit the high 30s at midday – was one of the best of the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Brazil, led by the evergreen Julia Sardá, opened what seemed an unassailable 20-0 lead with five minutes to play, but Argentina never laid down.
With the men’s team that had won their own final in the previous game supporting them, the Argentineans found a new impetus with two quick converted tries to narrow the gap to only six points with a long minute to go before the final whistle.
A lost ball allowed Brazil to counterattack and it was Sardá, one of four players who played in the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai in 2009 when Brazil lost the Bowl final to China, who ran unopposed under the posts to start the celebrations.
“It is the feeling of mission accomplished,” admitted Sardá after receiving the trophy from CONSUR President Carlos Barbieri.
“It is great to win again, but we never take anything for granted and had worked very hard with our coach Youssef Driss and our fitness trainer Darryl Collins to ensure that we were all ready and confident.
“We are trying a new brand of rugby and this is a very important win.”
Her team scored 28 tries for a total of 164 points, while conceding just 26 points in five matches.
Brazil had earlier had no problems in defeating Venezuela 34-0 in the first semi final. Argentina, meanwhile, came through a difficult semi final with neighbours Uruguay.
The 17-7 score line slightly flattered the winners, who found a lucky try when the ball bounced off a couple of Uruguayan legs in a strange incident.
They took their pride into the final, but one of the reasons of Brazil’s long regional domination is that they are the best team in CONSUR.
Uruguay managed to put their disappointment aside to beat Venezuela 17-5 in the third place play-off.
“It was great to be in Rio de Janeiro and see first hand the growth of the Game in this region,” said IRB Women’s Development Manager Susan Carty.
“There has been some really good quality rugby in what is a young region in terms of the development of the Women’s Game.”
A day after the tournament, the eight national coaches will come together for a workshop to help them progress the Sevens game in the region. Carty will then travel to Colombia to monitor the progress of Women’s Rugby there.
This event also marked the first time a female referee took charge of a men’s match in an international Sevens tournament in South America, with South African Marlize Jordaan having that honour.
Day two results
Fifth to eighth place
Chile 31-0 Paraguay
Colombia 19-0 Peru
Seventh place play-off: Peru 15-12 Paraguay
Fifth place play-off: Colombia 19-5 Chile
Cup semi finals
Brazil 34-0 Venezuela
Argentina 17-7 Uruguay
Third place play-off: Uruguay 17-5 Venezuela
Final: Brazil 27-14 Argentina