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PHOTOGRAPHY: IAN MUIR


had been very little difference between the top 4 sides but it was Russia who won the day. England continued to lead the series, and it


would look incredibly unlikely that they could be caught in Bucharest; they were followed by Portugal, Spain and Russia. At the bottom of the table with 2 teams being relegated it was looking likely that Moldova, who currently sit bottom, would be joined by Romania or Netherlands


BUCHAREST


Heading into the final tournament of the year, it was England who were in pole position to take FIRA Grand Prix Sevens title having won the first 2 tournaments and reaching the semi- final in Barcelona before falling to Russia. England needed to make another semi-final to guarantee winning the series irrespective of what nearest rival Portugal achieved over the weekend. As has been the case on the first day of


the previous GPS tournaments, there were a number surprises which included England, who had called up Sam Edgerley and Hamish Smales following strong Middlesex 7s performances, losing out to both Spain and Russia. England went into the 2nd day having


to beat Wales to have a chance of making the semi-finals and though the victory went to the men in white, Russia also beat Moldova and qualified in 2nd place over England due to their head to head records (having beaten England the day before) It was now Portugal who were in pole


position to take the overall GPS title. They dispatched Russia (19-12) in the semi-final playing the powerful and precise rugby that they have been known for throughout this season. It was an all Mediterranean final as Portugal met Spain (who beat France in the semi-final) and it was a game that met the expectations of the final game of the season. The Portuguese trailed going into the final minute, and with Spain working hard in defence it looked as if England would just scrape the title. Portugal though continued to keep the ball and when eventually the hole appeared in their bitter rivals line Portugal went over for the all-important score and with it the FIRA GPS title for a 2nd year. The Portuguese quite rightly celebrated


as, even though the GPS expanded to include England and Wales this year, and the former won the first 2 titles, it was the more consistent Portugal that won the summer and are European Champions for another year. Romania and Moldova were relegated from


the GPS, following tough seasons for both. Moldova will remember a famous victory against Wales in Barcelona but it was to no avail, the 2 teams will be replaced by Scotland (new team) and Germany who are promoted from Group A following their victory in Heidelberg England went on to win the plate with wins


over Italy and Georgia, as they missed out on the title by a single point. Ben Ryan will be pleased with his team’s summer work though, as they have tested a number of younger players and given them international experience as the group of players readily available for selection in the World Series grows year on year.


FINAL PLACINGS (TOP 5)


Portugal - 63pts England - 62pts Spain - 59pts Russia - 52pts France - 50pts


Issue 4 / www.ukrugbysevens.com / 5


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