Spain win Women's European Trophy

(IRB.COM) Saturday 15 May 2010
 Spain win Women's European Trophy
Spain scored plenty of tries in the Women's European Trophy in France

Spain have been crowned Women's European Trophy 2010 champions after producing another impressive display to beat Italy 31-13 at La Meinau in the French city of Strasbourg on Saturday.

The two finalists, who had both lost to Sweden in 2009 to miss out on Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 qualification, had both been free-scoring in topping their respective pools with perfect records.

Veronica Schiavon gave Italy an early lead with a third minute penalty, but tries from number 8 Ana Maria Aigneren and centre Barbara Pla edged Spain into a lead they would never surrender.

Schiavon ensured Italy went in trailing only 12-6 at half time, but prop Rocio Garcia and wing Julia Pla re-established Spain's grip on the match. Manuela Furlan gave Italy hope with their first try of the afternoon, but her opposite number Marta Pocurull scored on the hour mark to make certain of victory for Spain.

Sweden, who qualified for the World Cup by winning their pool at last year's Women's European Trophy, had played the Netherlands in two training matches last month, ending up on the losing side on both occasions.

Tries from Frida Ryberg and Elisabeth Österberg gave Sweden a 12-0 advantage after only 14 minutes, but it would be almost an hour before they troubled the scoreboard again with Anna-Lena Swartz's try, by which time the Netherlands were out of sight.

Strong finish for hosts

Kelly van Harskamp began the Dutch fightback within minutes of Österberg's try with a brace from centre Pien Selbeck sending her side in leading 21-12 at half time in Illkirch.

Dorien Eppink picked up where her centre partner had left off by scoring the Netherlands' fourth try to secure the bonus point, before replacement Elke van Meer crossed for a brace of tries to seal a 47-19 victory and third place.

France A had suffered somewhat surprising back to back losses against Spain and the Netherlands, but ended the tournament on a positive note with a 35-0 defeat of Russia to finish fifth overall.

Aurelia Cellier opened the scoring with a penalty and by half time France A had already secured a bonus point with forwards Sandra Rabier, Cyndia Mansard, Koumiba Djossouvi and Sylvie Bernard touching down.

France A, featuring several players who will expect to be involved in Women's Rugby World Cup 2010, could only add two tries in the second half through wing Camille Grassineau and Djossouvi.

Belgium did finally score their first points of the tournament with hooker Katrien Lemahieu's second half try, but they still ended finishing eighth after Germany won the match in a kicking competition following a 5-5 draw.