From Aylesbury RFC to the Olympics - Helena Rowland scores for Team GB against New Zealand

Team GB beat ROC but lose in last minute to Black Ferns in Pool A

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 11:54 am
Helena Rowland playing for Great Britain in the Olympic rugby sevens against the ROC (Picture Dan Mullan / Getty Images)
Helena Rowland playing for Great Britain in the Olympic rugby sevens against the ROC (Picture Dan Mullan / Getty Images)

From starting out with Aylesbury RFC as a six year old, and going on to play for Tring and Bicester RFC, Helena Rowland is playing for Great Britain s rugby sevens team in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Team GB won their opening Pool A match against the Russian Olympic Committee 14-12 and then narrowly lost to New Zealand, on Thursday, after being 21-0 up with three unanswered converted tries early on.

A fly-half with Loughborough Lightning, Rowland, 21, scored Great Britain's first try against New Zealand in Thursday. in a Phenomenal start, capitalising on an early mistake by the Black Ferns, she raced over for the well taken opening score.

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Her Team GB profile says: "Before her title triumphs with the Red Roses, who she only made her debut for in November 2020, Rowland had already enjoyed plenty of success in both 15s and sevens rugby.

Her list of achievements also includes winning the Premier 15s crown with Saracens in 2018 before she turned her attentions full-time to sevens and securing a place at Tokyo 2020.

Rowland first picked up a ball at Aylesbury RFC when she was six-years-old, going on to play at both Tring and Bicester RFC, having been raised in a sporting family.

She moved quickly through the ranks, leading Welwyn U15s to the nations sevens title, before overcoming a fractured tibia in 2016 which left her sidelined for six months.

After winning the Premier 15s with Saracens, Rowland focused her energy on sevens and showed her crossover talent in the World Rugby Sevens Series to earn her ticket to Japan."

The Great Britain sevens team, put together just a few months ago, were praised by commentators for having a superb game.

NZ came back, scoring with their first attack for 21-7 and another for 21-12 at half time as the conversion hit upright. Five tries in exciting first half set up an exciting second half.

But came back again to be only two points down at 21-19 with just two minutes to play.

Then when GB went down to six players following a yellow card for a high tackle, in the final minute NZ took advantage with a crucial try for 26-21, the final score.

Great Britain play Kenya in another Pool A game tomorrow (Friday) hoping to make it into quarter finals.