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Great Britain confirmed as eighth women’s team set for SVNS Grand Final

By Finn Morton
Rhona Lloyd of Great Britain runs away to score against Fiji at SVNS Singapore. Picture: World Rugby,

Great Britain are the eighth and final women’s side to book their ticket to the SVNS Series’ inaugural Grand Final in Madrid even though they were beaten in the Singapore quarter-finals by New Zealand.

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New Zealand, Australia, France, the USA, Canada, Ireland and Fiji had already secured their place in the winner-takes-all finale from May 31 to June 2, and Great Britain were in the box seat to join them before play even started in Singapore.

The British occupied eighth place on the overall standings ahead of the Series’ final regular season event this weekend but had Brazil and a couple of others running the same race to the Spanish capital.

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With Great Britain and the ninth-placed Brazil drawn in the same pool at Singapore’s National Stadium, their clash on Saturday morning was always going to have huge ramifications on the Series.

It was one of Great Britain’s strongest performances of the 2023/24 season with Heather Cowell, Jasmin Joyce, Isla Norman-Bell (double) and Emma Uren all crossing for five-pointers.

Try scoring machine Thaila Costa crossed for Brazil’s only try of the contest in the 2nd minute – it was also the opening points of the match – but it was one-way traffic from there with GB winning 35-5.

“We knew this tournament was important but we took each game (by game) and Brazil was our main focus coming in,” Great Britain’s Isla Norman-Bell told RugbyPass

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“We put out a great performance and we’re really happy with that.

“We can’t control what else has happened throughout so we’ve just got to move on to the next game and hopefully get as many points as possible.

“We were all really disappointed with how yesterday had gone but we knew that today was a new opportunity and we’re just really excited,” she added.

“We knew that we’d put in the work behind the scenes and we had analysed Brazil so we knew exactly what we were going to do coming into this game.

“I think that’s all we could be worried about. We did that on the pitch and we got a great score from that.”

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If SVNS Singapore had played out the way most would’ve predicted then that would’ve been enough for Great Britain to lock up eighth spot, but as is the nature of the Series, competition is unpredictable.

Over in Pool B, Japan bounced back from a heavy 41-7 defeat to France on day one to shock the USA and South Africa. Japan won two pool matches in a single tournament for the first time in a decade.

That made things a lot more interesting but with Japan and Great Britain both going on to lose their respective quarter-finals, GB were officially confirmed as a Madrid-bound Grand Finalist.

“We as GB have quite a challenge in ourselves. We aren’t together every single day like most, well I think all the other teams,” Norman-Bell explained.

“Our coach needed to see people this season and that’s why our team was so inconsistent. We had different players playing but he ultimately had to see.

“The Olympics is the big one this year and going to the Olympics and having the strongest team is what it’s all about.”

Catch up on all the latest SVNS Series action from the 2023/24 season on RugbyPass TV. SVNS Singapore is live and free to watch, all you need to do is sign up HERE.

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