The Dutch footing it with the world’s best in Asia
Guangzhou- The Netherlands Women’s Sevens team finished an encouraging 3rd place at the iconic Hong Kong Women’s Sevens Rugby tournament in Hong Kong.
The Dutch have since headed North across the boarder and into China, where they are busy finalising preparations ahead of rejoining the International Rugby Board (IRB) Women’s Sevens World Series. Guangzhou is China’s 3rd largest city and poised to become the 3rd host city on the four stop World Series when proceedings kick off on March 30-31.
After a strong performance in Hong Kong, Netherlands coach Gareth Gilbert named a squad of 12 players for the 3rd leg in China.
1. Pien Selbeck
2. Tessel van Dongen
3. Anne Hielckert
4. Lorraine Laros
5. Annemarije van Rossum
6. Kelly van Harskamp
7. Tessa Veldhuis
8. Linda Franssen (cap)
9. Velicia Oehlers
10. Joyce van Altena
11. Inge Visser
12. Paula Schouten
IRB Regional General Manager for Asia Jarrad Gallaher added the 12 qualifying teams “Will get a glimpse of what life is like in the world’s most populous country.” The sheer size and numbers, the potential of what could be achieved here, the wonderful Chinese hospitality and the legacy potentials are vast.”
The Netherlands are grouped in Pool A, alongside series leaders New Zealand and South American champions Brazil, who sit two positions beneath the Dutch on the overall standings. Series debutants Tunisia round out Pool A.
For the first time, the 12 participating teams can also expect their games to be streamed live via the IRB http://wsws.irb.com/index.html website. IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper adds, “With fans all over the world now able to watch online, they’ll be hoping to view a spectacular event in China.”
It is a timely reminder Women’s Sevens is going global as Guangzhou joins previous host cities Dubai and Houston, whilst Amsterdam is waiting in the wings to welcome the 2013 IRB WSWS finale to Europe on May 17-19. Amsterdam was awarded hosting rights in partnership with the annual Amsterdam 7’s Rugby Tournament, which in it’s own right is a well established and recognised rugby tournament, in it’s 42nd year. http://www.amsterdamsevens.com
After playing on home soil in Amsterdam, the players will shift their focus to Moscow, when the Russian capital will roll out the welcome mat for the 16 teams having qualified for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens Tournament. Women and men will compete alongside each other inside the historic Luzhniki Olympic Complex over June 28-30. The Dutch will be sure to do their homework this week in Guangzhou, as they have again been grouped with New Zealand and North African newcomers Tunisia. Canada, recent winners in Hong Kong round out the teams in Pool A when they line up in Moscow.
The Women’s Sevens World Series is gaining momentum as the road to Rio and the 2016 Olympic Games draws closer. It is helped by the inclusion of rugby back into the Olympic programme, so be sure to keep an eye out for not only the Dutch but all the women plying their trade on the rugby paddock.