Great Britain Men’s and Women’s sides tasted victory at the World University Championships in Brive on Friday 13th July. Having both sent out strong sides, the aim was obvious. Win.
The GB men’s side – coached by England’s Russell Earnshaw – beat South Africa 35-17 and the women’s team – under England’s Susie Appleby – saw off hosts France 24-7 in their respective finals.
Having already seen off the South Africans in the group stage, 26-14, the men felt confident of doing the double. That they did, and in some style, stepping up into another gear, they raced home to a comfortable win and lifted the title.
Dan Bibby (UWIC) touched down twice and kicked five conversions with Dante Mama, Joe Atkinson (both Loughborough) and Sam Edgerley (UCL) adding the other tries to allow captain Tom Mitchell (Oxford) to lift the trophy.
(Dan Bibby in action for England Students v Wales)
Both Mitchell and Bibby have considerable England 7s experience having recently won the FIRA AER European championship as well as competitng in the HSBC Internations Sevens World Series. The former being one of Englands star performers, with many dubbing him as the successor to Ben Gollings. Whilst Edgerley himself, has also featured frequently for England.
Earnshaw rated the win as one of the most satisfying in his coaching career and could see some of the squad setting their sights on being part of the senior GB side when the sevens code makes its Olympic debut in four years’ time.
He said: “We talked at the start of the week about creating memories, having a great time and they’ve enjoyed every second. You don’t get the chance to be a world champion very often and I think a few of this team could even go all the way to Rio in 2016.
“They did a fantastic job and Tom Mitchell led by example. His ability to get the best out of people around him was very positive. South Africa were an older side with more experienced individuals but we were an excellent team and scored some great tries.”
England senior international Emily Scarratt (Leeds Metropolitan) lifted the women’s title after scoring one of their four tries against France with the others from Sarah McKenna (Bedfordshire University), Sally Tuson (Cardiff University) and Scotland’s Steph Johnston (Glasgow University).
“In the final we built up a lot of pressure, were patient when we didn’t have the ball, then started to play to our potential,” Appleby said.
“It’s tricky coming together as a squad with limited preparation time but we grew together very quickly and I was so proud of the way they played.”
- Pool matches: bt Malaysia 40-0, South Africa 26-14, Mexico 64-0, Italy 29-14;
- QF bt Romania 31-0;
- SF bt France 14-5;
- Final bt SA 35-17.
- Pool matches: bt Romania 27-0, Japan 31-5, Spain 24-0;
- QF bt Belgium 26-5;
- SF bt Italy 38-5;
- Final bt France 24-7.
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