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China wrap up overall women's Challenger title in Krakow

By Martyn Thomas
Photo Credit: Julio Martin Seras Lima

China wrapped up the overall women’s World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 title with a third successive tournament victory, in Krakow.

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The Chinese had won the first two tournaments of the three-legged series in Dubai and Montevideo and booked their place in the Krakow final with knockout victories against Uganda and Belgium on day two at Henryk Reyman’s Municipal Stadium.

In the final, they took advantage of a first-half yellow card to Poland’s Hanna Maliszewski to build a 12-0 lead they never relinquished, going on to run out 36-0 winners.

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Victory was China’s 17th in 18 matches in the 2024 Challenger series and ensured they topped the overall standings with a perfect 60 points from 60.

China had confirmed their qualification for the HSBC SVNS Play-off tournament in Madrid at the end of day one. They will be joined in the Spanish capital by Argentina, Belgium and Poland, whose run to the final meant they leapfrogged Uganda and Kenya in the final standings.

This weekend’s hosts will line up against China, Japan and Spain in Pool A at Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano between 31 May – 2 June.

Argentina and Belgium will line up in Pool B in Madrid, alongside South Africa and Brazil.

Earlier on Sunday, Poland won a de facto qualifier for the SVNS play-off when they beat Kenya 21-15 in the first semi-final.

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The hosts went into the weekend trailing the Lionesses Sevens by two points in the hunt for a top-four place but that victory ensured they would likely finish above them due to their superior points difference.

Poland’s ticket to Madrid was officially confirmed when Kenya subsequently lost the bronze final to Belgium, a result that in turn sewed up third place for the victors.

Kenya had started day two with a quarter-final victory over Argentina, but Las Yaguaratés Sevens finished the tournament with victory in the fifth-place play-off.

The win against Czechia, more routine than the 15-12 final score might suggest, also wrapped up second place in the overall standings behind China.

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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