Olympic factor having major impact - Visser
As Vern Cotter selects him in his first Scotland squad, Dutch-born wing Tim Visser gives his verdict on the Women's Sevens World Series after the final round the Amsterdam Sevens, where he was event ambassador.
With the dust settling at the end of this year’s thrilling IRB Women’s Sevens World Series in Amsterdam, much has been said about the quality and consistency of New Zealand in winning the tournament and, with it, the Series on the last day.
But according to Scotland's Dutch-born wing Tim Visser, the feats of Sean Horan’s side are all the more impressive given the rapid developments in the women's game as the road to Rio gets ever shorter.
"I think the very interesting thing is that some of the more emerging nations in men’s rugby are very competitive at women’s level – countries like Brazil, Canada and Russia are playing with the bigger countries like New Zealand and Australia," said Visser after watching New Zealand land the Amsterdam title.
"Similar can be said for Holland. To be able to compete with the best in the world is something we can’t emulate at men’s level, and that’s probably why there’s such a big interest from a female perspective in Holland."
Total Rugby: Netherlands women's Sevens
Visser grew up in the Netherlands before moving abroad to play his rugby, but he’s excited about the future for the game in Holland - especially now that the women's Sevens programme is receiving strong assistance from the country's National Olympic Committee.
"The Sevens here has been growing year on year and the women’s Sevens has been a welcome addition. There’s some real investment going on behind the scenes and you can see from the amount of long-term sponsors with the NRB (Dutch Union)."
"The Olympic factor is certainly a good thing and it’s been amazing for the Dutch girls to be able to go fully pro. We’ve really seen the results of it in the last two years."
In 2013/14 the Women's Series visited Dubai, USA (Atlanta), Brazil (Sao Paulo), China (Guangzhou) and Netherlands (Amsterdam). Details will be announced in due course for dates, locations and qualification for the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series 2014/15, from which four nations will qualify automatically for the 2016 Olympic Games.