England’s Women Cement Place in Top Band

Dublin – Ireland, Feb 07, 2013: Women Cement, England’s victory in round two of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Houston, Texas has secured their position as number-one seeds for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, which take place from June 28-30 in the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The English ran out 29-12 winners in the final after an excellent weekend where they had to beat the champions from Dubai, New Zealand, twice on the way to lifting the title. This victory puts England top of the seedings and they will be joined in the first band by Australia, Canada and USA for the RWC Sevens 2013 Pool Allocation Draw in Moscow on February 28.

It was also a good weekend for the home team and while Vanesha McGee’s side were beaten in the final, the 18 points gained by USA was enough to move them up into band one for the draw.

Band two will be populated by New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Russia while the third tier will include Netherlands, China, France and Japan. It was a pleasing two days for Russia, who won the Plate and fully deserve their strong showing in the second band, a fact that will go down very well among their supporters, who are already gearing up for the big tournament in June.

RWC Sevens 2013 will be staged at Moscow’s premier sports venue, Luzhniki Stadium, which has previously hosted the Olympic Games and the final of the UEFA Champions League.

England playmaker Heather Fisher, who was named player of the tournament in Houston, is pleased with how the team is preparing for Moscow.

“Women’s Rugby Sevens is really competitive these days and I think that bodes well for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in June. The final (in Houston) could have involved any one of the top eight sides because there is very little between everyone. This is a fantastic result for us and a platform us to build on for the next few months heading into the World Cup. It means the world to us,” said Fisher.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s men retained their number-one status in the RWC Sevens rankings following their third place finish in the Wellington round of the HSBC Sevens World Series. With just one round left before the Pool Allocation Draw in Moscow, opportunities are fading fast for sides that want to move up a band before then.

The RWC Sevens 2013 Pool Allocation Draw will take place at Petroff Palace, Moscow, on February 28.

Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens rankings after Houston round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series

1. England 48. 2. Australia 46. 3. Canada 36. 4. USA 36. 5. New Zealand 34. 6. South Africa 30. 7. Spain 28. 8. Russia 28. 9. Netherlands 26. 10. China 10. 11. France 6. 12. Japan 5. 13. Tunisia 0. 14. Ireland 0. 15. Fiji 0. 16. S America Q* 0.

The four bands of four for the women, after Houston, are as follows:

Band 1: England, Australia, Canada, USA, Band 2: New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Russia

Band 3: Netherlands, China, France, Japan, Band 4: Tunisia, Ireland, Fiji, South American Qualifier

Note: Bands 3 and 4 may change slightly depending on the result of the South American qualifying tournament. Based on points attained, Japan may be displaced from Band 3 if Brazil wins that event, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro from February 23-24.

Men’s Rugby World Cup Sevens rankings after Wellington round of the HSBC Sevens World Series

1. New Zealand 410, 2. Fiji 334, 3. South Africa 316, 4. Samoa 307, 5. England 299, 6. Australia 224, 7. Wales 187, 8. Argentina 176, 9. France 136, 10. Kenya 112, 11. Scotland 81, 12. USA 69, 13. Canada 64, 14. Portugal 48, 15. Spain 37, 16. Russia 19, 17. Tonga 19, 18. Zimbabwe 12, 19. Japan 10, 20. Hong Kong 5, 21. Georgia 0, 22. Tunisia 0, 23. Philippines 0, 24. S American Q* 0.

If the Pool Allocation Draw took place today (February 7), below would be the band seeding. The tournament coming up this weekend (in Las Vegas) will finalise the seedings.

The four bands of six for the men, after Wellington, are as follows:

Band 1: New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa, Samoa, England, Australia, Band 2: Wales, Argentina, France, Kenya, Scotland, USA

Band 3: Canada, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Tonga, Zimbabwe, Band 4: Japan, Hong Kong, Georgia, Tunisia, Philippines, South American Qualifier

The men’s seeding takes into account the past two full HSBC Seven World Series seasons as well as the events in the current season up to the date of the Pool Allocation Draw. The IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup tournaments held in 2011/12 provided international rugby Sevens competition for the first time since RWC Sevens 2009 and this, together with the first two legs of the inaugural IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, has enabled the current playing strength of teams to be used to band teams.

For the men’s competition, teams will be divided into six pools of four and play in a round-robin format over the first two days before progressing to the knockout phase on the final day. The women’s teams will be split into four pools of four and play in a round-robin format over the first day of their competition (June 29) before progressing to knock-out phase on the final day. This will provide a total of 100 Sevens matches over the three days.

The 24 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams have nearly all been determined with only the South America region yet to hold its qualifying tournament. That event will take place from February 23-24 in Rio de Janeiro, the location for Rugby’s historic return to the Olympic Games programme in 2016.

Women’s qualification process:

The international tournament structure for women’s Rugby Sevens continues to develop quickly. However, since the inaugural Women’s RWC Sevens 2009, the only formal IRB international Sevens competitions for women have been the three tournaments in the 2011/12 IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup tournament and the new 2012/13 four-tournament IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.

As a result, Rugby World Cup Limited Board has agreed that the rankings into the four Women’s RWC Sevens 2013 Pool Allocation Draw bands will be based on the combined results from the 2011/12 IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cups and 2012/13 Women’s Sevens World Series (to reward consistency in performance). This rewards recent performances, avoids anomalies in RWC Sevens 2009 results against current relative strengths and reflects systems used for other RWC tournaments.

The positions teams attained in each of the 2011/12 Challenge Cup tournaments have been assigned tournament points and then totalled to ascertain their final positions. These final positions represent one-third of the final rankings with the points gained in Dubai and Houston Women’s Sevens World Series tournaments representing another one-third each. —- IRB/Image © scrumqueens.com

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