Itís a real honor for me to write for UR7s. Iíve been reading about other players and coaches at UR7s, I think it is a great way for me as a player to show you what we do with our team in our 7s program on our road to the World Cup 7s 2013 in Moscow. This is our second season as full time rugby players we have 14 players who are contracted in a unique rugby 7s Olympic program. All of us now only play 7s no more fifteen a side, just 7s. This is our job and it is the first time in the Netherlands that there is an Olympic program funded for rugby. We were one of the first womenís teams in the world to have contracted players for rugby. This program has been life changing and was a dream come true. But at the same time you have to experience the ride to know what itís all about. There is no one that can prepare you for this.
It’s a real honor for me to write for UR7s. I’ve been reading about other players and coaches at UR7s, I think it is a great way for me as a player to show you what we do with our team in our 7s program on our road to the World Cup 7s 2013 in Moscow.
This is our second season as full time rugby players we have 14 players who are contracted in a unique rugby 7s Olympic program. All of us now only play 7s no more fifteen a side, just 7s. This is our job and it is the first time in the Netherlands that there is an Olympic program funded for rugby. We were one of the first women’s teams in the world to have contracted players for rugby. This program has been life changing and was a dream come true. But at the same time you have to experience the ride to know what it’s all about. There is no one that can prepare you for this.
It has been such a massive difference from how we played and trained rugby before. The difference is being the way we approach rugby being a professional athlete. We all worked or studied next to our rugby and now we live our lives to be the best rugby players we can be.
Teammates that didn’t live in Amsterdam had to move to live in the capital. We train in Amsterdam at the National Rugby Centre at the moment we train four days a week. We start at 8.30 and finish at 15.30 hours. We train in the morning have lunch, rest (sleeping) and then we have another session in the afternoon.
When you put so much effort you expect the results to come quickly, we did improve on certain aspects of our game but we wanted a tournament win very badly. After having a disappointing result at the Hong Kong 7s we had a season highlight at the London 7s when we got to the cup final at Twickenham. We played England in the final and they were too strong for us at the time. But the experience in beating Canada and Australia was a big confidence boost and very important for our build to the future of our team.
In Moscow we had to make top 5 to qualify for the IRB Rugby World Cup 2013. We did what we had to do and qualified in our last tournament of our long season. We could enjoy our summer break and look forward to a special journey towards the World Cup.
We realized with the staff and the team that it is crucial for our programme that we play more games at a higher level. So when we heard that the IRB named us as one of the eight core teams in the IRB Women World Series 2012-2013. We were absolutely delighted and knew this would be a great way to prepare for the world cup to compete with the best in the world.
The first leg of this years Women’s World series was held at the Dubai 7s. The Emirates Dubai 7s has been the first leg of the Women World Series. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there because of groin injury, so I stayed home and had to stay posted with the results on twitter and fans texts in the crowd.
This was my first time to not be with the team. I followed the games like my friends and family usually does and my heart was suffering from it, it really is nerve wrecking. I was screaming in front of my television and social media.
A big plus was that I could watch a lot of other women’s international games on Sky Sports, which was great and a big development for women’s rugby and sport in general. It was a great tournament to watch and an unforgettable one with the crazy rain and thunder storms.
The Dutch girls played Australia in their first game and narrowly lost in a very exciting game witch could have gone either way and made me realize that the level of the women’s World Series keeps going up every year; there are no easy games anymore.
Their second game was against the USA on pitch one witch was live broadcasted and was played in pouring rain, not really ideal 7s conditions, but something we as Dutchies are very much used to, we managed to score two great tries against the Eagles and win the game.
The 3rd pool game was also won against a nation we have played many, many times and has never been easy, France. The next day the girls made it to the quarter final and had to play South-Africa and unfortunate lost the game in the last minute. The odds were against us and we lost the last two games against a strong Russia and England. We made top 8, but it wasn’t the result we hoped for, but the girls learned from the games played some great rugby and we have to take the losses on the chin and we will keep working hard to do better in the next tournaments.
We have been watching the games back multiple times and evaluated the tournament with our coach. We had good training sessions after Dubai and we are getting excited about our next Women’s World Series leg in Houston, Texas. We have a few new places and tournaments we haven’t been too before in previous years and it’s always great to see more of the world and go to new places.
With Christmas and New Year we have a well-deserved two weeks off to recharge our batteries and we’ll be ready for the next part of the season, building to the world cup!
I want to wish everybody a amazing Christmas let’s hope 2013 makes all our wishes come true!