SCOTS Shona Campbell, Rhona Lloyd and Lisa Thomson helped Great Britain’s women win gold in the rugby sevens at the European Games in Poland tonight [Tuesday], while the men’s squad earned a silver medal. The results mean that the women’s squad have now secured a place at the Paris Olympics next year, while the men still have a chance to qualify via a repechage event.
As well as the three players mentioned, Scot Ciaran Beattie is head coach of the women’s squad. Captain Robbie Fergusson, Jamie Farndale, Ross McCann, Femi Sofolarin, Kaleem Barreto and Max McFarland were all in the men’s squad, while former Scotland Sevens men’s captain Scott Riddell was at the event as an assistant coach to both squads and Sean Lamont was part of the men’s backroom team.
In the women’s event in the Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium in Kraków, Great Britain defeated the hosts 33-0 in the final to lift the title. Before kick-off the noise level in the stadium went up in support of the home favourites and the Polish team started well, but Emma Uren’s long-range effort, converted by Isla Norman-Bell, put Great Britain 7-0 up. Uren scored her second try and Meg Jones converted for 14-0 and then Jones’ try made it 19-0 at half-time.
During the second half all three Scots came off the bench for their golden moments. Poland had a player yellow-carded, and Lloyd scored a converted try to make it 26-0 to Great Britain before Ellie Boatman’s seven-pointer finished it at 33-0.
The GB women have joined France, New Zealand, Australia, United States, Ireland and Brazil in securing qualification for next year’s Olympics. Campbell, Lloyd and Thomson, as core GB Sevens players currently, will be hoping to be part of the squad that goes to Paris, but the playing group could still change before then.
Czechia took bronze in the women’s event and, along with silver medallists Poland, will have a chance to make the Olympics via a repechage.
To get to the semi-final stage at the start of day three, Great Britain had topped a Pool containing Norway, Italy and Czechia on days one and two. Then on day two they won a quarter-final against Germany 53-0.
They played Belgium in the semi-finals in a tie which started in the morning but finished in the afternoon after there was a long delay due to an issue with the posts at one end of the ground. When play resumed, Campbell ended up leading the way with two tries as Great Britain pulled away to win 36-12 to set them up for their winning moment later on.
Meanwhile, to get to the semi-final stage at the start of day three, Great Britain’s men had won three from three in the pool stages on day one and two against Romania, Lithuania and Portugal. They then got the better of Germany 14-10 in a tight quarter-final late on day two.
Today started with a semi-final triumph over Spain, with McFarland and Farndale among the try scorers as Great Britain won 19-7. Ireland were then just too good in the final, winning 26-12. Sofolarin did score a late consolation try and Barreto kicked a conversion, but Fergusson suffered a first-half yellow card and the Irish were always in control.
The Irish squad contained former Ayrshire Bulls man Liam McNamara and they are now safely into the Olympics along with already qualified sides France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia and Uruguay. Great Britain and Spain’s men, who won the bronze medal, will now have to bounce back when the repechage event comes around.