The Hungarian national 7s rugby team was able to reach the semifinals at the opening leg of the Rugby Europe Sevens Trophy Series in Zagreb this weekend, which is arguably a great success. In addition, Budapest will host the 2nd (closing) leg of the tournament over this coming weekend, welcoming highly-ranked teams such as England, Ireland and Wales.
The Trophy Series is the 2nd level of Europe’s 7s national team rugby.
In the Croatian capital, Hungary managed to beat Israel and Croatia in the pool phase (and was beaten by Wales), then Luxembourg in the quarterfinals. This meant that Hungary got in the top four with rugby great powers Wales, Ireland and England. Wales, then Ireland for the bronze have both proved too hard of a nut to crack for the team, meaning that Hungary eventually finished fourth.
Meanwhile, the women’s team finished in ninth place in Zagreb.
Moreover, the second (closing) leg of the prestigious tournament will be held in the Budapest Rugby Center, in Kincsem park (right next to a racecourse, with ongoing horse races during the event) over this coming weekend.
Rugby still lacking in popularity in Hungary
Unlike in the Anglo-Saxon world or in neighboring Romania, rugby does not enjoy the same levels of popularity in Hungary. This is best illustrated by the fact that only 12 sides (6-6 each in the two divisions) compete at the senior XVs Hungarian championships with only a few hundred signed players at all.
This does not mean that it lacks excitement, however. This year’s Extraliga (1st division) was won by Szeged Gorillas, a historic success as never has the Southern team ever qualified for the final before. In addition, they managed to beat Esztergom, Hungary’s record champion for the crown.
featured image via János Gábor Hidvégi /Hungarian Rugby Federation- Facebook