We are back ready to roll with the new season with Las Leonas, fresh from coming back from military training in Alicante before a 15s tour to South Africa in which we had three games, one of which was a test match.

We managed to win the three games in what was an historic first international tour for women’s rugby in Spain, which helps the growth of the game.

We have to thank World Rugby and the international windows and sevens opportunities as they help us develop the game in the country.

In sevens, we finished last season with the unhappiness of not qualifying for the Olympic Games. It was something very hard for us as it was the first time that Las Leonas will be missing out from a big international rugby event.

We’ve always been there, even going the long way as we did for Rio 2016 when we qualified through the Repechage.

We had always managed to reach our goals and this is the first time we haven't, which makes us unhappy but it will be an opportunity to look deep inside of us and continue to grow as a team and in our project.

There are few spots for Europe and many good teams. Ireland also missed out and we knew that of the top five teams, two would miss out. Congratulations to England on qualifying and good luck to Russia and France as they go to the repechage next year.

A generational change

In August I had the opportunity to travel to Chile with my solidarity project, Rugby Libre, doing Get Into Rugby and with the help of sponsors we were able to visit seven different venues all through the country. We were able to share the values of rugby as an educational tool, mostly in social action and sporting clubs. I have to thank the Chilean Federation and sponsor HBRS who were key in developing the tour.

We are already in Glendale, ready to open the new season. I was not here last year as I was on my way back from playing in the Japanese league, and it is the first time that I will play in the tournament.

We got there with time to prepare, after a good sevens preparation in Sierra Nevada’s altitude high performance training centre, there was also a training camp in Marcoussis with Ireland and France - a good pre-season warm-up ahead of a tough season.

We are full of energy for a hard year ahead as the format of competition has changed and there are more venues. Teams will arrive for the season opener in good shape after preparing themselves ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

This year, we’ve made generational transition and the oldest players in the team are having our last few tournaments and it is the time that the new ones take over.

We have a hard pool with Canada, Australia and Fiji so we hope to do our best to kick-off the new seasons of sevens.

Photo: Aljaz Babnik