Rugby Sevens: France Sweeps 2015 Men’s European Grand Prix Series

France’s men’s rugby sevens team has qualified to the Olympics by being the top ranked nation from the Men’s 2015 Rugby Sevens European Grand Prix Series. The Grand Prix is a series of rugby seven tournaments where nations receive points based on their performance. The three-legged, 12 team tournaments were held in Moscow, Russia from June 6th to 7th, Lyon, France from June 13th to 14th and Exeter, Great Britain from July 11th to 12th 2015. The team with the most points qualifies to the Olympics. The exception would be England and Wales as they cannot qualify since Great Britain has already qualified.

In the first tournament world core teams France, Portugal and the newly promoted Russia all finished the first day with perfect records. In the quarterfinals France and Russia won their matches easily, but Portugal lost to Spain in a narrow 15-14 decision. England was the fourth semi-finalist. France and Russia continued their perfect run as they defeated England and Spain respectively to meet in the final. The final was initially close with France taking a 14-12 lead going into the half, but they were able to take over the match, winning it 40-17.

The second tournament had France and Spain finish with perfect records, but it was Belgium that was the talk of the group stage. With victories over core teams Wales and Russia and a draw against England they were able to top Group B. Belgium’s fortune continued as they defeated Italy 12-0 to reach the semifinals while Germany caused an upset of their own by defeating Russia 17-10. France and Spain however maintained their perfect records by defeating Portugal and Lithuania respectively in the quarterfinals before beating Germany and Belgium in the semifinals. The first half of the finals was a tight affair with both teams displaying their defensive capabilities. Spain led after the first half 7-5, however, three unanswered tries in the second gave France its second win as they won 20-7.

Needing only a semi-final appearance to clinch the Olympic quota France along with England and Russia finished undefeated at the end of the group stage in the third tournament. France officially clinched its spot to the Olympics with a 31-5 win over Wales in the quarterfinals. They were joined by Germany, Spain and England as they defeated Georgia, Russia and Lithuania respectively. France reached its third consecutive final by defeating Germany 24-5 where a third team challenged them for the title, this time England as they defeat Spain 19-0. France defeated England in a close 14-5 match as they swept the entire Grand Prix Series where they remained undefeated throughout the three tournaments.

By finishing second in the overall rankings Spain has qualified to the final Olympic qualification tournament. The other teams, with the exception of England and Wales will compete in a repechage tournament next week with Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and Ireland to determine the three teams that will join Spain in the final Olympic qualification tournament.

Grand Prix Rankings

  1. France – 60
  2. Spain – 50
  3. England – 44
  4. Russia – 38
  5. Germany – 38
  6. Portugal – 24
  7. Wales – 22
  8. Belgium – 20
  9. Lithuania – 17
  10. Georgia – 14
  11. Italy – 11
  12. Romania – 4



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