– Hosts through in dramatic final match
– Top women’s players showcase talents to global TV audience
– Quarter-finals confirmed for RWC Sevens 2013 Finals Day
– Eight teams book IRB Women’s Sevens Series Core Team Status
Russia caused the biggest upset on the opening day of the women’s competition at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow, defeating England 17-15 in the final match to book a place in Sunday’s Cup quarter-finals.
The Russians raised the roof at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium, venue of the 1980 Olympic Games, with a stirring second-half comeback against a much-fancied England team to set up a meeting with Canada.
Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Spain and England will join the hosts in the Cup quarter-finals after a compelling day of action that captivated Russian fans across the two venues.
In the quarter-finals New Zealand will play England, USA face Ireland, Russia tackle Canada and Australia will meet Spain. The other eight teams will contest the Bowl quarter-finals with the Netherlands playing Japan, Brazil taking on China, France facing Tunisia and South Africa meeting Fiji.
The last-gasp Russian victory was significant for the event, but also for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series with the Cup quarter-finalists also booking places as core teams in the 2013/14 IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, which kicks off later in the year.
Tunisia had the honour of kicking off the 42-match competition on another boiling day in Russia’s capital, facing reigning IRB Women’s Sevens World Series champions New Zealand in their first-ever Rugby World Cup Sevens event.
While losing 36-0, the Tunisians had broken new ground for their nation and for women’s team sport. Meanwhile, New Zealand ended the day undefeated after wins over the Netherlands and Canada in a tough Pool A. Canada, inspired by Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games gold medallist Heather Moyse, also progress.
In Pool B defending champions Australia eased through the day undefeated to progress to the quarter-finals, where they will be joined by debutants Ireland, who looked strong in a pool that also featured South Africa and China.
Fiji were the story in Pool C after fighting back to draw 14-14 with Spain in their first-ever Rugby World Cup Sevens match. USA topped the highly-competitive pool, but were pushed all the way by Spain, who join them in the quarter-finals and continue to impress as the sport counts down to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In another highly-competitive pool, England, Russia and France battled hard to claim the two quarter-final spots. The tussle appeared to be going England’s way until Russia’s second-half comeback kept alive their hopes of lifting the coveted trophy.
With matches taking place on the main Luzhniki Stadium pitch, the world’s top women’s Sevens players were able to taste the atmosphere in an Olympic venue three years before Sevens makes its debut at the Rio 2016 Games.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The strength of the Women’s Game is one of the major Sevens success stories. Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 has showcased to a record broadcast platform the sheer skill, speed and talent that abounds in Women’s Rugby and the real geographical spread of the competition nations.”
“It has been wonderful to welcome Tunisia, Fiji and Ireland’s women to a Rugby World Cup Sevens for the first time. I am sure that the experience has injected further resolve to reach the Olympic Games and represent their nation and Rugby on sport’s biggest stage.”