1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens
The 1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April 1993. This tournament was the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. The International Rugby Board invited the established rugby union nations but also were keen to involve emerging nations in the event, recognising the fact that Sevens was providing the bridge between the developed rugby nations and those whose rugby union traditions were less well established.
|Dates||16 April – 18 April|
|No. of nations||24|
England defeated Australia 21–17 to become the first team to win the Melrose Cup.
Prior to 1993, Rugby Sevens had already built up a substantial international presence. The relative ease with which the rules could be learnt and applied, combined with the ability to quickly organise teams due to fewer players, as well as providing a fast paced game for spectators enticed many nations to set up domestic tournaments, and appealed to a large international audience outside of the established power houses of the traditional 15-a-side game. Such was the international popularity of the game that the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) were able to organise a well attended International Tournament in 1973 to celebrate the centenary of the SRU. England came away victorious from that first international event.
Soon after, in early 1975 the Chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, A.D.C. "Tokkie" Smith, was talking with tobacco company executive Ian Gow. Gow had been a spectator at the 1973 event and had proposed to Smith to sponsor a Rugby tournament with top teams from throughout the world competing. This gave rise to the inaugural Hong Kong Sevens on 28 March 1976. This tournament grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s in both supporter popularity and the number of participating teams. Sevens was proving to be the bridge between the established international rugby elite and those nations with less resources and less developed professional infrastructures.
In the early 1990s, The SRU made a proposal to the International Rugby Football Board for the creation of a Rugby Sevens World Cup. The World Cup for the 15-a-side game had been staged successfully in 1987 and 1991 and had proved the worth of such an event. The IRB, which had a duty to involve and help to develop the rugby of the new member unions, recognised the value of Sevens to further this end, and their chairman, Vernon Pugh, enthusiastically agreed. Thus, the IRB organised the first officially sanctioned Rugby World Cup Sevens to be held at Murrayfield in April 1993. The ultimate prize of the competition was to be called the Melrose Cup, named after the small Scottish town of Melrose where the Sevens format had been born in 1883. A butchers apprentice and Melrose 20-a-side quarterback, Ned Haig, suggested having a rugby tournament as part of a sports day to raise funds at the end of the rugby season and his boss David Sanderson proposed playing in a tournament that required reduced numbers of players in each team. On 28 April 1883, the Melrose seven-a-side tournament began, with the time of each match limited to 15 minutes. The first World Cup was held 12 days shy of the 110th anniversary of that first tournament.
The IRB situated the tournament in the spiritual home nation of rugby sevens, Scotland. The games were played at the home of Scottish rugby, Murrayfield Stadium.
Of the twenty-four nations involved, nineteen were invited and five had to go through pre-tournament qualification. Four of the qualification places were won by Namibia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Spain who booked their places by reaching the semi-finals of one qualifying event in Sicily. Latvia won their place by beating Russia in the final of a mini-tournament staged in Moscow to decide who would replace the USSR, which had broken up since its invite to the world cup.
The invited participants were Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Scotland, Tonga, South Africa, South Korea, USA, Wales and Western Samoa.
The 24 nations were drawn into four pools of six teams with the top two progressing to the Melrose Cup, the third to the Plate and the fourth-placed teams contesting the Bowl competition. The groups were arranged thus:
As expected, the leading nations all made it through. However, only South Africa, New Zealand and Western Samoa could boast unbeaten records at this stage. Fiji, Australia, Tonga, Ireland and England all lost one match in their respective pools. In Pool A Wales, lost to South Africa but distinguished themselves against the powerhouse of sevens rugby, Fiji, coming back from 21–0 down to lose narrowly 21–17. South Africa managed to overcome Fiji in their pool match. In Pool B Ireland had an excellent first round, beating United States 38–0. They lost to New Zealand, who won the group, but finished second. Korea defeated France 14–0 and the French struggled to beat the Netherlands in an earlier tie. However, the French managed to qualify for the Bowl in fourth place, with the surprise being Korea making the Plate competition in third. In Pool C, the hosts Scotland finished fourth behind Argentina in third (although they ended with the same number of match points as the South Americans and had a better points difference they had lost to the Argentinians). The Scots managed to beat eventual group winners Tonga but lost to Australia and Argentina. Both Tonga and Australia lost one match each, and crucially Tonga beat the decider between the two sides meaning that Australia ended second in that group. In Pool D, eventual tournament winners England progressed well but were beaten by the Samoans but 28–10. Samoa went on to win the pool. Despite heavy defeats to England and Samoa, Spain managed to gain third spot just ahead of Canada.
The quarter finals were not knockout but took the form of another round robin with the teams split into two groups. Fiji emerged as the only nation with an unbeaten record after overcoming Ireland, Tonga and Western Samoa in the first. The second group was more fiercely contested with each nation claiming at least one victory. Australia and England who progressed to the semi finals despite their respective defeats by New Zealand and Australia. England had assumed they would top their group and avoid Fiji, even with a defeat to Australia in the final pool game. They opted to rest some first team players but expressed dismay in finding themselves placed second in the group behind Australia. The England team had thought that table placings in the event of a tied points tally were decided on tries scored. However, tournament rules stated that the first differentiator was results between the tied teams.
Although England lost to Australia in the quarters, they qualified for the semi-finals against the favourites, Fiji. Dave Scully produced what was awarded the "Moment of the Tournament" prize with a tackle on Mesake Rasari that turned a certain Fiji try into an England score. England won 21–7. In the other semi-final Ireland were narrowly beaten 21–19 by the Australians, setting up a final between teams that had already met in the quarterfinal pools.
The final was contested by England and Australia. Just before half time, England led 21–0 through tries from Andrew Harriman, Lawrence Dallaglio and Tim Rodber, all converted by Nick Beal. Michael Lynagh scored a try before haf time, but failed to convert his own try. In the second half Australia hit back strongly and first David Campese and then Semi Taupeaafe scored further tries, the latter also converted by Michael Lynagh. However, time ran out on the Australians and it was England captain "Prince" Andrew Harriman who was presented with the Melrose Cup by the Princess Royal. Adedayo Adebayo, a member of that victorious side later recalled how surprising the victory had been to the players involved in it. He said "We were basically a scratch side. We got together for the first time as a team the week before, played one practice match and went on to win! But there were a lot of quality players in that side and looking back that's why we were able to wing it slightly – the talent came through. Looking back though we had no expectations of winning at the start. We didn't know how far we would go. It just happened."
Wales had gone into the Plate competition as favourites based on their rousing display against Fiji. However, they were stunned by the Spanish side who beat them 10–7. Argentina meanwhile displayed impressive dominance against South Korea and came through 24 point to nil. They went on to win the final 19–12 against a Spanish side that had distinguished themselves enormously, coming from the position of one of the four pre-tournament qualifiers to reaching the final of the Plate competition.
Of the four teams contesting the Bowl, Scotland and France were the established nations but met each other in the semi-final Scotland overcame the lacklustre French side 14–7 and Japan posted 14 points to Canada's nil to reach the final. Japan beat the hosts in the final in an impressive fashion winning 33 points to 19. Princess Anne awarded the prizes and Scotland received tankards.
|Key to colours in group tables|
|Teams that progressed to the Quarter Final Groups (also indicated in bold type)|
|Team that progressed to the Plate competition (also indicated in bold italics)|
|Team that progressed to the Bowl competition (also indicated in plain italics)|
All times British time (UTC+1)
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts South Africa 5 5 0 0 175 43 132 15 Fiji 5 4 0 1 150 60 90 13 Wales 5 3 0 2 135 78 57 11 Japan 5 2 0 3 67 118 -51 9 Romania 5 1 0 4 44 133 −89 7 Latvia 5 0 0 5 29 168 −139 5
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts New Zealand 5 5 0 0 157 24 133 15 Ireland 5 4 0 1 128 45 83 13 South Korea 5 3 0 2 80 98 -18 11 France 5 2 0 3 62 71 -9 9 United States 5 1 0 4 62 105 −43 7 Netherlands 5 0 0 5 33 179 −146 5
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts Tonga 5 4 0 1 117 34 83 13 Australia 5 4 0 1 143 29 114 13 Argentina 5 3 0 2 67 81 -14 11 Scotland 5 3 0 2 96 64 32 11 Italy 5 1 0 4 41 123 −82 7 Taiwan 5 0 0 5 24 157 −133 5
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts Samoa 5 5 0 0 193 31 162 15 England 5 4 0 1 138 38 100 13 Spain 5 2 0 3 59 114 -55 9 Canada 5 2 0 3 75 87 -12 9 Hong Kong 5 1 0 4 43 161 −118 7 Namibia 5 1 0 4 55 132 −77 7
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
|Scotland||19 – 33
(HT:5 – 21)
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
|Argentina||19 – 12
(HT:7 – 7)
Melrose Cup – Quarter FinalsEdit
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts Fiji 3 3 0 0 66 26 40 9 Ireland 3 2 0 1 38 43 -5 7 Samoa 3 1 0 2 54 38 16 5 Tonga 3 0 0 3 26 77 −51 3
Team Pld W D L PF PA +/- Pts Australia 3 2 0 1 28 59 -31 7 England 3 2 0 1 47 40 7 7 South Africa 3 1 0 2 43 35 8 5 New Zealand 3 1 0 2 68 52 16 5
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
18 Apr 1993
|Australia||17 – 21
(HT:5 – 21)
|1993 Rugby World Cup Sevens Champions|
- "Scotland.org – September 2007 Try and Try again". Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- "Hong Kong Sevens Official site history". Archived from the original on 22 July 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
- Caught in Time: England win the first rugby sevens World Cup, 1993
- IRB.com. "RWC Sevens 1993 at www.rwcsevens.com". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- http://www.england-rugby.com/EnglandRugby/index.cfm?fuseaction=News.News_Detail&storyid=22036[permanent dead link]
- http://nl.truveo.com/Rugby-Sevens-1993-1/id/288230385499097668[permanent dead link]
- Rugby Union / Rugby World Cup Sevens: Australians are tripped by Tu'ivai's drop: Tonga and Argentina strike blows for the underdogs in Edinburgh
- RWC Sevens 1993 at www.rwcsevens.com