A look back at some of the most memorable storylines from the World University Rugby Sevens Championship in Swakopmund, Namibia
The victorious French ladies team on the field after the final at the WUC Rugby Sevens in Namibia
SWAKOPMUND, NAMIBIA – Following France’s unblemished record at the recently-concluded FISU World University Championships Rugby Sevens tournament, their title-winning coach Thomas Darracq shared his elation with the result, while adding what the tournament meant for women’s rugby in his country as a whole.
At the prestigious rugby sevens championships held for the first time in Swakopmund, Namibia last month, the French ladies were a cut above the rest of their opponents, scoring an astounding 231 points across their six games, going unbeaten as they defended their title of two years ago after convincingly beating Australia 24-7 in the final.
The tournament was really great for all the players,” winning coach Darracq said. “We really wanted to win this tournament, and it was very important for the girls and the confederation that we did. We kept a good spirit in this competition, we have a good team and this was a good reward that we won in Namibia.”
Darracq admits he had a star-studded university team at his disposal for the competition, the majority of which he believes will soon take the step up to the senior national French team.
“We had three or four players that have experience with the national team at both 15 and sevens level, as well as the captain of the French women’s 15s team,” the proud coach said. “So we had a very good team. For the future six to ten of these ladies will make it to the French national team, and this was a great experience for them.”
Darracq says the women’s rugby sevens game in his native France is definitely on the up, no doubt helped by back-to-back wins at the World University Championships.
“We have a lot of young female players in France who play rugby, and the level is definitely improving,” he said. “Women’s rugby is very important for the federation and world rugby, and we hope it will reach even higher levels soon.”
With this year’s tournament held in Africa for the first time, Darracq was quick to heap praise on the first-time organisers, and feels the magnitude of such a tournament can only help his players in future.
“Being in Namibia was great for world rugby,” he said. “The volunteers were great with the team, the staff and the players.
“It was really great for these young players to have experienced a trip to Africa, it was very important for them to experience this type of competition and these conditions, so they know what to expect in future big competitions such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games.”
The French 2018 world university champions in Rugby Sevens celebrating their tournament victory