Helena Rowland into Olympic rugby sevens semi-finals

Great Britain beat USA to earn place in last four at Tokyo 2020

By Zoe Ashton
Friday, 30th July 2021, 1:32 pm
Updated Friday, 30th July 2021, 2:22 pm
Helena Rowland (Picture by Getty Images for the British Olympic Association)
Helena Rowland (Picture by Getty Images for the British Olympic Association)

Helena Rowland, who had her first taste of rugby at Aylesbury RFC as a six year old, is through to the Olympic semi-finals in Tokyo 2020.

Great Britain s women beat Kenya 31-0 in their final pool game of the rugby sevens in Japan, to set up a quarter-final with America.

There Team GB triumphed 21-12 over the USA to earn their place in the semi-finals tomorrow (Saturday, July 31).

Great Britain will play France in the early hours of the morning 3.30am (1130 in Japan, who are eight hours ahead).

The bronze medal match will be later in the day (1730 in Japan, 9.30am here) and the final at 10am, 1800 in Japan.

From starting out with Aylesbury RFC as a six year old, and going on to play for Tring and Bicester RFC, Helena Rowland is heading for a medal with 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 26-21, 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 on Thursday, in a phenomenal start, capitalising on an early mistake by the Black Ferns, she raced over for the well taken opening score.

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 then NZ added another try 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 New Zealand took advantage with a crucial try for 26-21, the final score.