Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

RugbyX Womens Preview

Posted on 25 October 2019 by Muireann Duffy

The new RugbyX tournament comes to the O2 Arena, London on Tuesday, October 29, with six countries lining out in an exhibition of full-contact, five-aside rugby. To find out all you need to know ahead of the event, have a look at our explainer.

The women’s side of the tournament sees four of the top ten ranked Sevens countries vying for the top spot. The winners of England v France and USA v Ireland will face off in the final which is sure to be a masterclass in speed and agility.

Favourite- It’s hard to look past number one ranked Sevens team, USA. The American side are no strangers to a big stage and will relish the chance to show a London crowd exactly why they’re the best in the world.

USA Women

Coach: Warren Abrahams

Co-Captains: Alev Kelter + Kayla Canett

Player to watch: Alev Kelter. The most capped USA Women’s Sevens player has over 50 tries to her name on the World Series. She will be co-captaining the team and looking to use her pace and power to lead her team to victory.

Six of the 12 players named in the USA squad recently finished first in the opening round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The Eagles Sevens secured the opening round win on home turf in Glendale and secured the number one spot in World Rugby rankings.

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Ireland Women

Coach: Stan McDowell

Captain: Katie Fitzhenry

Player to watch: Lucy Mulhall. The international Sevens captain has 20 tries under her belt for Ireland since her debut in 2015 and is a driving force behind the Irish women’s recent form.

Hannah Tyrell brings a shot of experience to the Irish side, with the 2015 6 Nations winner being one of five to make the transition from the 15s game, alongside former Munster 15s winger turned hooker, Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird, who has performed well throughout the 2019 Sevens Series.

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England Women

Coach: Charlie Hayter

Captain: Abbie Brown

Player to watch: Celia Quansah. The multi-talented Quansah did not take rugby up until the age of 21. She switched to the sport after spending her teenage years as a heptathlete and was a long jump gold medal winner in the 2011 School Games. Her rise to prominence in rugby has been as rapid as she is, being called into the England women’s sevens side after only four months of playing the sport.

The English women will be hoping to improve on their recent sevens form, which saw them finish ninth out of twelve in the Glendale sevens, a tournament that RugbyX rivals USA won. Coach, Charlie Hayter took some positives from his sides performances in the first round of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. He believes after getting back into training and working on where they went wrong his team will be ready to make progress and challenge for the RugbyX title.

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France Women

Coach: David Courteix

Captain: Montserrat Amdedee

Player to watch: Monsterrat Amdedee. Known for her speed and her good finishing, she burst onto the scene after practicing gymnastics for thirteen years and has not looked back since. She’s scored 34 tries in 72 matches for France and was named in the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series team in 2017. 

France have named a strong side for inaugural RugbyX competition including a number of players who finished runners up in the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens competition last year. Rookie of the Year 2018, Coralie Bertrand has made the side along with Camille Grassineau and Shannon Izar who both were part of the French side that won the Six Nations in 2014.

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