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Dragons defend Newquay title

The Dragons returned to Newquay as reigning champions with a strong squad looking to retain their title. Debuts were given to El Snowsill, Rhi Parker, Mel Clay, Alisha Butchers (all Wales), Claire Molloy (Ireland) Megan Goddard (England) and Mia Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands). Welsh assistant coach Jon Hooper also added his 7s experience to the coaching team.

The Women's Open was a small tournament with only 4 teams, but the standard of rugby was considerably higher than previous years, with GB Students, Roses (England Development) and Pink Babas providing stiff opposition. The tournament kicked off against Roses and a fast start saw the Dragons race into a half time lead of 28-0. Roses rallied in the second half to bring the scoreline back to 28-17. A bruising second game against a very physical Pink Babas saw the Dragons run out 26-5 winners, before turning on the style with an excellent performance to defeat the GB Students 31-5.

The team gelled as the day went on and with a strong Welsh presence played a very attractive style of rugby. The best was saved till last in the final where the Dragons came up against Roses for the second time. After conceding an early score from the kick off the experience of the Dragons squad began to tell; in testing conditions with heavy rain lashing the pitch, the team produced a display of exceptional patience and handling ability to run in 40 unanswered points and secure the title for the second year running.

Elinor Snowsill, who captained the side on her Dragons debut was voted Laurent-Perrier Player of the Tournament for a outstanding performance that saw her top score in the side and create numerous opportunities for other. In doing so El became the first Welsh player to win the award following in the footsteps of Alex Castillion, Nicole Kwee, Lucy Demaine and Lucy Nye.

Director of Rugby, Nigel Francis was ecstatic after the tournament, "This is probably one of the most satisfying tournament victories, the standard of opposition was really high, but the girls showed their experience and talent to record some impressive wins. The new players that came into the squad all performed exceptionally and really added to the team."

Dragons link up with 17 Sports Management

The Dragons are delighted to announce that from May 2016 they will be represented by 17 Sports Management. Ian Byers of 17 Management said, "Having built our business and established our reputation working with talent in individual sports, we have been looking for an opportunity to get involved in team sports, like rugby, netball, football and cricket. The Dragons are a young side, but one that is packed full of exciting talent and experienced 7s players who enjoy their sport. They match our company ethos and we look forward to working not just with individual players but the team as a whole".

"At 17, we are firm believers in the benefits and values of womens' sport, which gives outstanding opportunities for brands to increase their profile and achieve significant value. The involvement of companies like Kia with England womens cricket and SSE with their sponsorship of the Womens FA Cup at the top level are testament to this, but opportunities exist at all levels, as is shown by companies such as SIM Gear, Vita Coco and Outback's support of the Dragons. Womens sport continues to grow and it is building greater profile at national level, more women are participating in sport and spectator numbers continue to rise. It is a great time to be involved".

As part of their support of the Dragons the "17" logo will feature on the Dragons shirt this season. Speaking about the link Nigel Francis said, "I'm delighted that we are going to be working with 17, they represent a number of very high profile Olympic and Paralympic athletes and we are very lucky to be the first team they have chosen to represent. I think the link illustrates how far we have come as a brand and I look forward to seeing what the future holds with this exciting venture".

More information about 17 Management can be found on their website www.17management.com

Dragons storm to Hartpury title

The Dragons started the 2016 season with a strong win at the Hartpury 7s. Lucy Nye Following a rejigging of the groups due to a number of teams dropping out, the Dragons ended up in a pool with West Country Cavaliers, Gloucester-Hartpury and Lichfield RFC. After a great warm up from El Snowsill the Dragons started quickly and kept up a relentless pace to outclass the Cavs by 68-0. A quick turn around saw the team back on the field 40 minutes later against a skillful Gloucester-Hartpury that featured a number of Welsh internationals and England veteran Susie Appleby. In a scrappy game the Dragons eventually prevailed 24-0. The last game of the group saw the Dragons concede their first points of the tournament as they came up against a strong Lichfield team. The Dragons eventually prevailed 29-12.

The semi-final draw saw the Dragons play the University of Worcester Alumni team and in a comfortable win 59-0, a number of players were rested for what would prove to be a bruising final against a very talented University of Gloucestershire team that featured England internationals Megan Goddard and Bianca Blackburn. The experience of the Dragons squad began to tell as the final went on and the final score was 33-17 to the Dragons.

A very pleasing way to start the season, with a number of players either stepping up from the Dreigiau side, or making their Dragons debut. One such player, Lucy Nye, had a fantastic tournament and was voted the Laurent-Perrier Player of the Tournament.

Winning team
The victorious Hartpury 7s squad.
Becky Ball
Becky Ball carries hard.
Charlie Murray
Charlie Murray on the break.
Deb McCormick
Deborah McCormick dives over.
Chrissy Siczowa
Captain Chrissy Siczowa leads by example.
Lucy Nye
Player of the Tournament Lucy Nye scores.

Images copyright Neil Kennedy/Hasbeanz.com

Dragons return to action

A strong Dragons squad kicks off the 2016 season with a debut appearance at the Hartpury 7s this weekend. Dragons 7s' Director of Rugby, Nigel Francis, has invited a squad packed full of talent, which will see 4 debutants and 3 players moving up from the Dreigiau development squad to make their full Dragons debut.

Jackie Shiels (Ireland), Elinor Snowsill (Wales), Lucy Nye (England U20s) and Becky Ball (Wasps) will be the players pulling on a Dragons shirt for the first time, joining Jade Newman (British Army), Lucy Demaine (England) and Chrissy Sicozwa (Wales) who make the step up having represented the Dreigiau squad at North Dorset last season. Sicozwa, who is the current RAF Pumas' skipper will captain the squad. Alicia McCormish, Deb McCormick, Tess Gardner, Charlie Murray and Beth Dainton all return to the shirt to make up a very talented squad.

"We've put together a squad that we think can compete for the title at Hartpury", said Francis, "the balance and depth of the squad is something I am really happy with. There is a blend of experienced 7s players with new players coming through, which will stand us in good steed for the future."

Dreigiau crowned inaugural North Dorset 7s champions

The Dragons development side, Dreigiau 7s, rounded off a successful season by being crowned champions of the first women's North Dorset 7s competition. In a superb display of attacking 7s and determined defence the side scored 272 points in 5 games and conceded just 7, which were scored in the last minute of the final.

Lucy Demaine

Charlie Murray returned to the Dragons shirt after a 3 year absence and brought two fellow RAF Pumas on board in Jess Feeley and Chrissy Siczowa, who had played for Wales 7s in Biarritz last year. Both players impressed, with Jess showing some great speed to score a second half hat-trick in her first game and Chrissy leading an impressive defensive effort that forced numerous turnovers, creating many try scoring opportunities. Angharad De Smet continued her fine scoring record in a Dragons shirt and Jade Newman proved to be a formidable midfield enforcer. There were first caps for Welsh internationals Dyddgu Howell, Robyn Wilkins and Raf Taylor, alongside talent transfer prospect Megan O'Sullivan; GB Students 7s star Lucy Demaine also made her long awaited Dragons debut! All players contributed on the score sheet with Raf scoring 11 tries in 5 games including 4 in the final. Lucy was named Laurent-Perrier Player of the Tournament after playing every minute of every game, acting as a great link player in centre field to create opportunities for others.

Dragons narrowly lose out to Wooden Spoon at 7s and the City

Nicole Kwee

The Dragons 7s missed out on a second title in two weeks, narrowly losing out to a very experienced Wooden Spoon Marauders team in the final at Allianz Park. With both sides boasting a number of players with international and World Series experience it was always going to be a tight game. In a fantastic advert for women's 7s in a game where the lead changed hands 4 times and the game was decided with the final play of the game, it was Spoons that came out on top 20-14.

Both sides had won all their group games comfortably, Spoons had to overcome a bruising semi-final encounter with Saracens, whilst the Dragons beat a less physical, but faster Predators team. Playing on the 4G surface of Allianz Park it was always going to be a fast final, and this is where Spoons perhaps had a slight edge over a more physical Dragons side. Dragons debutant and Dutch international, Nicole Kwee (right) was voted Laurent-Perrier Player of the Tournament.

Speaking after the game Dragons 7s Director, Nigel Francis, said how proud he was of the effort everyone had put into the weekend and that he hoped that the players had enjoyed and learnt from the experience.

Dragons roar in Newquay

Alexandra Castillon

The Dragons were crowded Women's Open Champions at the last ever Newquay Surf 7s, overcoming a very tough and spirited Pink Babas side in the final. Spanish international, Alex Castillon (pictured left), was voted Laurent-Perrier Player of the Tournament on her Dragons debut.

Dragons 7s director, Nigel Francis, was ecstatic to have won the tournament at the 4th attempt! "The girls really gelled as a side as the day went on and they played some fantastic attacking sevens. I'm delighted that we've finally managed to win the Surf 7s and hope this is the start of a successful new chapter in the Dragons history."

Welsh link announced

The Dragons 7s in partnership with Sports International Magazine are delighted to announce that a link with the Welsh Women's 7s programme has been established. The full press release can be viewed on the Sports International Magazine blog (opens in new window).

The tall, flying Dutch woman

Kelly van Harskamp

The Dragons are delighted to announce that 2013 IRB Woman's 7s Player of the Year nominee, Kelly van Harskamp, has agreed to represent the team in 2015! Kelly recently retired from international rugby, but is looking to play 7s during the summer.

The video below shows Kelly in action and highlights what Dragons' fans have got to look forward to in 2015!

Dutch Mission

Dragons 7's coach, Nigel Francis, spent some time recently with the Dutch national squad shadowing their head coach Chris Lane. Following some very positive discussions a link between the Dragons and Dutch squad has been agreed, that will hopefully see some of their full time international players pulling on the green shirt of the Dragons in the summer of 2015.

Laurent-Perrier partners the Dragons

Dragons 7’s International Rugby are very pleased to announce that Champagne Laurent-Perrier has agreed to partner the team for the 2015 season.

From 1887 when Mathilde-Emilie Perrier took the helm of the business through to today when Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt and Stéphanie Meneux de Nonancourt oversee the House, women have played a key role in the growth and reputation of the Laurent-Perrier business.

As part of Laurent-Perrier’s continued support of Sports International Magazine and women in sport, this iconic Champagne House will be helping the “player of the tournament” celebrate in style. Nominated by their fellow players this award will be given at the end of each tournament.

The award is an important reflection of the team ethos and players upholding a set of values echoed by Laurent-Perrier. Based in the heart of Champagne, the House has a pedigree for innovation, handcrafting a diverse and pioneering range of fine champagnes that are produced to traditional time-honoured methods.

Laurent-Perrier’s vision, support of women in sport and the Dragons 7’s team is at the forefront of a new kind of partnership and we look forward to the 2015 season together!

Team structures - 2014/15

Starting from the 2014 season the Dragons are going to run two teams, the Dragons 7s becoming a pure invitation side, looking to recruit some of the best 7s players from the UK and beyond. The Dreigiau 7s will become the development arm of the team, offering welsh based/qualified players the opportunity to play at some of the best tournaments in the UK.

It is very important to remember where the Dragons have come from and the original vision of providing welsh players with development opportunities remains the same. Younger players that impress with the Dreigiau squad will be offered the opportunity to play in the Dragons squad, whilst established players will be invited to play for both teams.

The Dreigiau 7s will be entering the Newquay Surf 7s, whilst the Dragons 7s will be at Sevens and the City at Allianz Park.

Any new potential players interested in representing the side should contact Nigel Francis for further details.