Netherlands and Spain reached Saturday's European Championship final with convincing wins in today's semi-finals.
SPAIN 44 GERMANY 0 - Match recording
The reality of the task they faced struck home for Germany straight from the start. Germany kicked off and, 24 seconds later, Iera Echeberria was under the posts for Spain. Germany’s forwards could match the Spanish upfront, but the speed and width of the Spanish backline gave their opponents he problems. Five minutes after the first try Iera Echeberria added a second and Spain were 12-0 ahead.
But the German team adapted quickly and, helped by the power of their pack, made repeated forays into the Spanish half, but the Spanish defence held and whenever they turned over the speed of their backs ensured that the pressure was back on Germany. Three more tries gave Spain a 27-0 lead at halftime.
The second half was dominated even more by Spain, but the German defence ensured that Spain could only add three more tries. In the end Spain ran out clear winners by 44-0 – but that still represented Germany’s best result against Spain. For a team only reformed last year against the country 10th in the world, it was a promising performance.
Germany: 1 Noemi Mager; 2 Friederike Kempter; 3 Jessica Neues; 4 Monica Yee; 5 Nora Baltruweit; 6 Elisa Trick; 7 Melissa Paul; 8 Lisa Maral; 9 Franziska Holpp; 10 Leonie Hollstein; 11 Annika Nowotny; 12 Lisa Bohrmann (Cap); 13 Johanna Hacker; 14 Steffi Gruber; 15 Dana Kleine-Grefe
16 Mareike Bier; 17 Frederike Wenzlaff; 18 Julia Wich-Scwarz; 19 Muriel Weigel; 20 Yona Rossol; 21 Martha Ivanovas; 22 Susanne Pfisterer; 23 Lea Predikant
Spain: 1 Isabel Rico (Cap); 2 Isabel Macias; 3 Laura Delgado; 4 Anna Puig; 5 Lourdes Alameda; 6 Jimena Parra; 7 Maria Calvo; 8 Maria Losada; 9 Anne Fernandez; 10 Carlota Meliz; 11 Eva Aguirre; 12 Maria Ahis; 13 Lide Erbina; 14 Amaia Erbina; 15 Iera Echeberria
16 Judith Velez; 17 Margarita Rodriguez; 18 Jeanina Vinueza; 19 Monica Castelo; 20 Maitane Salinas; 21 Lucia Diaz; 22 Alba Vinuesa; 23 Maria Garcia
Scores: 1: T Iera Echeberria, C Maria Ahis (7-0); 5: T Iera Echeberria (12-0); 24: T Amaia Erbina (17-0); 30: T Amaia Erbina (22-0); 38: Lide Erbina (27-0)
47: T Maria Garcia (32-0); 56: T Maria Losada, C Maria Ahis (39-0); 75: T Judith Velez (44-0)
NETHERLANDS 84 BELGIUM 12 - Match recording
That the Dutch should beat Belgium was no surprise – they had won the previous 8 tests, and an uncapped international in November. But the size of the win was size of the win.
The speed and power of the Dutch team – with a backline full of Sevens World Series experience kept finding gaps in the Belgian line. Halfway through the first half the Netherlands were already 31-0 ahead.
The game was not as one sided as the score suggested, and after 23 minutes a series of pick and goes from their pack resulted in a score under the posts for hooker Charline Pierson. Belgium would add another try before half-time, but by half-time the Dutch lead by 45-12.
The second half was much the same, with the Netherlands crossing the Belgian line at regular intervals ending with their 14th try from Marit Bakker from the final play.
Belgium: 1- Ilham Bahri; 2- Charline Pierson; 3- Laura Fortemps; 4- Britte Seghers; 5- Nele Michem (Cap); 6- Stephanie Lepage; 7- Alexia Faes; 8- Cathy De Geyter; 9- Aude Risselin; 10- Laure Martinet; 11- Elodie Mussch; 12- Sarah Verzin; 13- Charlotte Kuhn; 14- Nele Van Den Hazsevelde; 15- Nelly Nzeza
16- Jolien Scheers; 17- Karen Seyen; 18- Naomi Gideon; 19- Alicia Torre; 20- Marie Rutsaert; 21- Jeanne Marquegnies; 22- Celine Minon; 23- Jozefien Beckers
Netherlands: 1- Rosanne Verbeek; 2- Anouschka Beukers; 3- Samantha Martinez Gion; 4- Wopke Van Leeuwen; 5- Tessa Wijmans; 6- Linde Van Der Velden; 7- Pien Selbeck; 8- Joyce Van Altena; 9- Erin Arends; 10- Lorraine Laros (Cap); 11- Marit Bakker; 12- Nikki Weijers; 13- Pleuni Kievit; 14- Bastienne Oonk; 15- Elke Van Meer
16- Robin Wubben; 17- Irith Lely; 18- Jordan Heil; 19- Lineke Gevers; 20- Sophie Touber; 21- Marleen Zethof; 22- Amy Stolk; 23- Tamara Stock
Scores: 5: T Bastienne Oonk, C Lorraine Laros (7-0); 9: T Pleuni Kievit, C Lorraine Laros (14-0); 12: T Linde Van der Velden C Lorraine Laros (21-0); 17: T Marit Bakker (26-0); 19: T Pleuni Kievit (31-0); 23: T Britte Seghers, C Laure Martinet (31-7); 27: T Erin Arends, C Lorraine Laros (38-7); 30: T Stephanie Lepage (38-12); 33: T Marit Bakker, C Lorraine Laros (45-12)
44: T Bastienne Oonk, C Lorraine Laros (52-12); 50: T Erin Arends, C Lorraine Laros (59-12); 56: T Linde Van Der Velden (64-12); 58: T Tamara Stock (69-12); 68: T Jordan Heil (74-12); 75: T Joyce Van Altena (79-12); 81: T Marit Bakker (84-12)