A new Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens looms on the horizon, the second stop of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series 2019, and we are very excited to be here with Las Leonas.
This will be my seventh or eighth time competing in Dubai and it is a very dear tournament as it falls around my birthday on 2 December, sometimes we are playing that day which is quite interesting!
This is a tournament I love and which brings me good memories because Spain normally play some good rugby and are competitive. Hopefully, we can recover from Glendale as it was a pity that we failed to make it to the quarters by just two points on point difference. It was pleasing, though, to see the team bounce back and win the Challenge Trophy on day two.
We continue having a well-balanced team with young players playing on the series for the first time and a solid group of experienced players. We recently won an international tournament in Elche, with teams such as England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, which helped us prepare well.
Some of the sevens girls played once or twice – such was my case – in the November window tests, something that was very interesting as it was the first time Spain has been involved in such a window.
Playing test matches against Hong Kong and South Africa was great, more so against South Africa who we had only met once before in 15s rugby. We won both matches, beating Hong Kong 60-5 and then South Africa 17-5.
Two clear goals for Spain
With no rest, we went straight into sevens mode so it has been an intense, tough four weeks but I am very happy to have returned to Las Leonas after my time in Japan.
Working with them, the goals are very clear, firstly to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 that we now know will be played in New Zealand, a country I hold very dear to my heart having played there in 2013 and 2014. I’d love to play in the Mecca of the game and probably retire there.
The second goal is qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a road that began with the opening round of the series in Glendale.
As I mentioned in my last column it is a tough task, but we are very keen to challenge for the places available, be it through the series, the Rugby Europe Sevens Grand Prix Series or the Repechage, the route we took to Rio two years ago.
The truth is we’ve been working very well, with the youthful freshness of the new players that for someone like me, who has been in the team for many years and started very young, is welcomed.
I am happy and looking forward to spending some special days in Dubai, hoping to have a good tournament despite a tough pool with France, Canada and Fiji, teams we like to play against. Hopefully, it will be a good show and a good tournament.