Robinson: A debut to savour in Dubai
After the first-ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series in Dubai, two-time World Cup winning Black Fern and now kiwi broadcaster Melodie Robinson gives her thoughts on this historic tournament.
Well, it has been amazing. I’m a former rugby player and this has been like a dream to me, to be able to commentate on the first-ever IRB Women's Sevens World Series. I’m also so pleased that these young girls can have this opportunity, if it was like a dream to me, I can only imagine what it was like for them!
The competition here was what surprised me though, and what made it even more interesting. Teams like Russia - they were the surprise package - they’ve got a player there, Khamidova, who’s probably become an overnight sensation because she’s 1.83m and 87kg and she’s just so powerful - so that was a fantastic story.
There have been some really good tries too - I've seen them, and lots of other individual showcases of talent to enjoy.
But there have also been so many different styles of play within the teams who really took it to the next level when playing in front of this amazing crowd in Dubai.
I mentioned Russia before, and that they have a very physical and competitive style, but then you had other teams like Australia that were really balanced. They could take it up the middle but also have so much speed out wide with Emilee Cherry, who ended up being the top try scorer in this competition.
Then there were sides like New Zealand who had two draws on day one but progressed in their group and in the final they were just amazing.
As we've come to expect in Sevens, there were the upsets too, like South Africa beating England, and you'd have to say that the competition was really very even until the final.
So it’s been an amazing couple of days on the pitch, and away from it in Dubai. Watching all the people who have been playing the games, getting dunked under water, jumping in the pool and generally having a great time, I think everyone here in Dubai has had the best time ever.
Day two highlights
I've said it already but this is really just the start, and what a start it was, but it is just going to get bigger and bigger I believe.
I also think as it’s televised and more women around the world get a taste of the sport, they might take a chance and give it a go, as we've seen with the kiwi girls, some of the Aussies and the Dutch girls.
And, of course, it is also crucially giving the girls who do already play rugby at this level the regular, tough competition they need as it builds to Rio. It’s just going to get bigger and that can only be great.