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After a shock on Day 1 losing to Italy,

21.19, England 7s came back strong on Day 2 in Lyon to take victory at the first leg of the Grand Prix Sevens. This weekend saw the addition of Wales and England to the Grand Prix and though they have World Series pedigree they did not have it all their own way as Wales ended up in the plate and lost the final to Russia (33-12). England started Day 1 in confident fashion

with a big win over Moldova but then came unstuck against the Italians in their 2nd game. Wales themselves turned over Russia in the group stages and beat the Moldovans in the early stages of Saturday. The teams were split into 2 groups of 6 which meant 5 group games for each team. This was structured so that there would be 4 group games on Day 1 and then the final game was on Day 2 before the knockout stages. After the shock defeat against Italy, England came back strongly for the remainder of the day as they defeated World Series rivals France and Russia giving them the chance to top the table with a victory over Wales. In the other group, it was Spain that moved into top position as they defeated current European Champions Portugal into 2nd place. England took on Wales on Sunday morning

and though Wales had an inexperienced side, they took on the more experienced English side at their own game but came up just short, losing out 19-12. This meant that England moved onto to a semi-final against Portugal whilst France finished 2nd in group B and were to take on Spain in the semi-final. Spain took advantage of a strong start against the French that saw them through to the final of the GPS where they would meet England after their victory (34-14) over the Portuguese. The final was a closely fought affair and

these 2 teams know each other well after meeting in Bury and London last month, but it was the experience and youthful exuberance of the English side that won the day and the first tournament of the GPS season as Captain Chris Cracknell lifted the trophy after a 28-14 victory. France defeated Portugal (7-0) in the

3rd place play-off whilst Russia, Georgia, Italy, Romania took the minor places from Wales, Netherlands, Ukraine and

Moldova respectively. The series now moves on to Russia this

coming weekend where France & Portugal can expect to get some players back in their squad who can only improve the quality of a tournament that was of the highest standard seen in European competition outside of the World Series.


England clinched a second FIRA Sevens Grand Prix title by taking their revenge against Portugal in the final of the Moscow leg. Wing Nick Royle weighed in with two tries,

there were one apiece for John Brake and Marcus Watson, and play maker Christian Lewis-Pratt kicked two conversions in the 24-12 win. England had suffered a surprise setback when they were beaten by Portugal then held to a draw by hosts Russia on the tournament’s first day but head coach Ben Ryan’s mix of HSBC Sevens World Series experience and new faces improved on day two. A 35-7 win against Moldova saw them into the semi finals, Brake and two Matthew Turner tries set up the 24-14 semi final win against Spain and Fylde wing Royle - the leading scorer in the European series - powered them home. England had won the opening leg in Lyon

and a second win stretches their lead in the four-event series, which concludes with tournaments in Barcelona (July 9-10) and Bucharest (July 16-17) “I’m really pleased with how well we have

played as a team - especially in defence when stretched and tired,” said head coach Ryan. “We’ve shown some great desire to improve

every game and set high standards in a tough schedule which sees us play seven games in two days and then repeat it all a week later,” said Ryan. “The European series goals are to win the

title, blood new players and improve where we need to improve most. We’re on track in all those areas and I’m loving the team playing in Europe and enjoying their rugby so much.”


The 3rd leg of the FIRA GPS took place in Barcelona and with the 2 previous tournaments going by with little surprises,

the Spanish crowds at the Olympic stadium took in a very different tournament. The first day saw Spain fail to make the cup

with defeats to Russia (5-12) and Portugal (12- 17) whilst the latter also lost to Ukraine 0-10). The Portuguese team forced themselves into the Cup semi-final by defeating the Russians (21-12). In the first group, England continued their dominance of the competition on day 1 with wins against Romania (29-7), Georgia (33-7), Italy (22-12), France (22-10) and Netherlands (26-7). They were joined in the Cup Semi-Finals by another surprise package, Italy, who made it through with their victory on the morning of Day 2 against an in-form France side (14-7) With the cup semi-finals taking the form

of England v Russia and Portugal v Italy, it meant that former semi-finalists in previous tournaments Spain and France found themselves in the plate and another top side, Georgia found themselves playing off in the Bowl. Day 1 saw Wales struggle once again, perhaps meaning that they need to change tact and start entering a stronger side into these very competitive tournaments as they only gained the one victory in the group stages which included a loss to struggling Moldova. Wales did go some way to regaining some

respect on Day 2 with victories over Romania and Georgia (33-19) who they had lost to in Moscow, which saw them take victory in the bowl In the plate competition Ukraine upset

France (14-12) and Spain ran out convincing winners against the Netherlands (33-0) to set up what turned out to be a one-sided final, as the Spanish ran out 24-0 winners to take 5th place overall. The Cup semi-finals saw further upsets as

Russia went a step further than their draw with the English in Moscow as they defeated the series leaders 17-14 with a powerful performance in what was a great game of rugby. In the 2nd semi-final it was Italy who upset the Portuguese side who have been so consistent this year, 12-7. The final of the 3rd leg of the FIRA GPS

this summer saw new finalists with Russia taking on Italy and it was the Russians’ World Series experience that told in the 2nd half, where their defence stood firm as the Italians attempted to break the deadlock. It was Russia who squeezed the victory by a mere 2 points (7-5). The final summarised the whole weekend, which had been full of upsets. There

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