New Zealand remains on top of the women’s rugby sevens world by winning the world rugby seven series for the third time in a row. The number of tournaments for this edition was expanded to six and New Zealand was able to win four of them with Australia and Canada winning one a piece. In each tournament 11 core teams and 1 invited team, Brazil five times and Netherlands once compete for points and for the first time Olympic qualification. The first tournament started on December 4th 2014 and the final tournament concluded on May 23rd 2015. The top 4 nations in the overall points table qualified to the Olympics.
By winning the first four tournaments New Zealand had made the title race a foregone conclusion to the point where just showing up to the final tournament in Amsterdam, Netherlands was enough to clinch the title. New Zealand was also able to clinch a spot to the Olympics a tournament early in London, England by reaching the quarterfinals.
The race for the final Olympic spots was however more interesting as six nations were still competing for three spots by the final tournament. Although both Australia and Canada were likely to clinch a spot as they only needed to reach the quarterfinals while Russia needed results to heavily go in their favor for them to qualify. Essentially it was a fight between England, France and the United States for the fourth and final spot and all that separated the three nations was 2 points.
By the end of the first day both Australia and Canada clinched an Olympic quota by reaching the quarterfinals while all three of England, France and the United States remained in play as all three of them reached the quarterfinals. Russia was also still alive, but now needed to reach the semifinals while the other three nations lose their quarterfinal match.
The quarterfinals eliminated France and Russia from Olympic qualification as they both lost to Australia and Canada respectively. Meanwhile the United States won its match against Spain 38-10 while England caused an upset against New Zealand to stay alive by winning narrowly 17-14. The semifinals determined nothing as both England and the United States lost to Australia 26-0 and Canada 19-14 respectively. As England has the tie breaker over the United States (overall point difference) the final qualification spot will come down to a third place match where the winner will qualify to the Olympics.
In the match the United States was able to take a 7-0 lead with a try from Megan Bonny. England was able to respond at the end of the half where Marlie Packer scored, however England missed the conversion therefore the score remained 7-5 at the half. The second half began with a great display of defense between the two teams, but at the third minute England was able to take the lead with a try from Emily Scarratt, but again England missed the conversion. With a score of 10-7 the United States only needed a try to get back into the lead, but a great play along with a defensive blunder gave England a quick try as Joanne Watmore extended the lead to 15-7. The United States weren’t able to break down England until right at the end where Leyla Kelter scored a try, but it was too late as the United States lost in a 15-14 heartbreaker. At the Olympics England will be represented as Great Britain.
The final was won by Canada over Australia in a thrilling 20-17 match. At the other end of the point standings due to not being in the top 8 Spain, China and South Africa will have to compete in a world series qualifier if they want to participate at the next world series as core teams.
United States and other nations will get another chance to qualify to the Olympics as each of the six continental regions will host a tournament with the winner going to the Olympics. After that the best non-qualified teams from each region will have a final tournament to try and qualify the final spot.
Top 10 Standings
- New Zealand – 108
- Canada – 96
- Australia – 94
- England – 76
- United States – 76
- France – 72
- Russia – 60
- Fiji – 32
- Spain – 26
- Brazil – 20
Quotas by Nations
- Australia – 1
- Canada – 1
- Great Britain – 1
- New Zealand – 1
World Rugby. 2014-15 Women’s Sevens World Series Rankings. Access on May 23 2015.