- England defeat hosts in the final to win France International Sevens
- Merchant runs in a hat-trick to secure win
Photo: RFU Archive
England Women opened their Sevens season in style by lifting the France International Sevens title today at the Centre National de Rugby in Marcoussis.
Despite England Women’s Sevens Head Coach Barry Maddocks naming a relatively inexperienced squad, with three players making their international sevens debuts, England appeared relatively untroubled throughout the tournament and did not conceded a game.
After finishing day one with wins over Spain, Holland, Germany and France A, England, alongside France, topped the table. England and France then met in the final pool game of the tournament knowing that they were also likely to meet in the final.
England put down their marker with a fine start to the day, defeating France 21-5 in the first match. Wasps’ Natasha Brennan ran in two tries and Fran Matthews also touched down. With McKenna adding three conversions England headed into the final confident.
France, however, were in better form for the final match, holding England to a 12-7 lead at half-time. Katherine Merchant scored England’s first try, and she soon matched and bettered that effort in the second half, running in another two scores. With Merchant’s three tries converted England took control and France had no answer.
Maddocks said: “This is a fantastic result for us as we didn’t come to France expecting to win the tournament. The main aim for the France Sevens was to use it to expose some new players to Sevens rugby. To do that, and also win it, is a tremendous bonus.
“The players who are new to this set-up, and those returning from long term injuries, have done fantastically well. This was by no means an easy tournament. Day One was tough with four games, whilst there was little time before our last pool game and the final. It is very impressive that the players coped with that turn-around because playing France twice, and back-to-back, is not easy.”
England Women's Sevens
Claire Allan (VC) (Richmond), Natasha Brennan (Wasps), Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), Sarah Guest (Worcester), Alexandra Matthews (Richmond), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Sarah McKenna (Wasps), Katy McLean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Leanne Riley (Saracens), Sally Tuson (Bristol).
France Sevens Schedule
England 22 Spain 5
Tries: Merchant 3, Chamberlain
England 19 France A 5
Tries: Brennan (2), McGilchrist
Conversions: McKenna, McLean
England 24 Holland 5
Tries: Chamberlain, Tuson, Merchant (2)~
Conversions: McLean, McKenna
England 42 Germany 0
Tries: Matthews, Riley (3), Brennan, McGilchrist
Conversions: McKenna (6)
England 21 France 5
Tries: Brennan (2), F Matthews
Conversions: McKenna (3)
France 14 England 19
Tries: Merchant (3),
Conversions: McLean (2)