Emirates Invitational 7s has played their last leg, and the women’s games has been a close nail biter for fans to watch. Last weekend it was Canada that took home the Cup in the finals beating the USA Eagles, 14-31, impressing fans with their composure on the field despite not having played a proper sevens game in over a year.
The second leg was another close battle amongst the ladies which saw Canada, France and USA all tied up with just one loss, and a 10 pint differential. But the final battle eventually fell on the hands of Canada defending their Championship against a French side that’s been getting better and better every tournament.
France made an appearance in Spain at the Madrid 7s for the first international sevens competition since the pandemic broke out. France reached the finals in the first leg but lost to the strong Russia as France seemed to be out of touch with the sport. In the second weekend of the Madrid 7s, France unfortunately had to pull out after some of their players tested positive for the virus. Not being able to win back the Cup from Russia, France has been hungry for a gold finish since then.
In the first week of the Emirates Invitational 7s, France fell short of the finals and had to battle it out with Brazil for third place, since then the team has made some fine tuning to build their best team in hopes for a different result this weekend.
France and defending Champions Canada faced of in a grueling final’s match, the two had met earlier in the day and saw France defeat the Canadians. The finals, looked to be a repeat of that face off. Both team showed their talents and gave it there all, but in the first minute of the game, a strong run Chloe Pelle gave Anne-Cecile Ceofani a chance to score the first try of the finals. After a strong attack by the Canadians put them in the French red zone, they get penalized for not releasing, Giving the French another chance at firing their rocket Ceofani. Ceofani and Charity Williams of Canada go on a foot race to the try line but Ceofani’s long strides just out steps Williams and they score another try. Canada again gets a chance at scoring but as the half time hooter blows, France takes the ball and kicks it out.
Second half with France leading 12-0, Canada brings out their veteran Karen Paquin off the bench. Paquin herself is seen flying on the wing with her signature taped headband and Knees, finally breaks the ice for the Canadian scoreboard as she burns her counterpart on the wing. Canada then scores again after a French player does a bad pass for Ghislaine Landry to pick up and pass down the line to their winger for the back to back. But French shooting star Coralie Bertrand replies with another try after she does a kick and chase and dives on the ball, taking the lead again at the buzzer. At the restart, France kicks the ball long as Canada is not able to catch it clean, the ball rolls into touch and the final whistle blows with France 17, Canada 12.
The French women’s sevens came of the pandemic fairly rusty, but in their performance today, it goes to show that they have their game back and are ready to win the last ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in the last qualifiers match in Monaco. Coralie Bertrand was well rewarded for her outstanding performance being named the MVP of the women’s tournament.