-text and photos by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
design Florin-Alexandru Stancu-

A few time ago I tried to make a short positive history
of the Romanian national team of rugby XV (or union),
adorning it with more sunrises.

Now I try to make the same thing
about the Romanian national team of rugby sevens,
a game which is the favourite child of classical rugby
(among other interesting children, such as
rugby league, Gaelic football, American football, Australian football etc.),
this time with sunrises taken in 2013
between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox.

Rugby sevens was invented in 1888 in Scotland,
and, soon after, it was also adopted by two other countries of the
Rugby Home Union, England and Wales.

But only in the 1970s it began to know the international spread,
along with the birth of the Hong Kong annual tournament
(first edition in 1976),
which has remained until today as the most important in the world.

The next major step was the birth of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1993,
with editions after cycles of four years,
which, since 1999, have been filled with Grand Prix tournaments
(IRB Sevens World Series).

In Europe
the first 9 European championships took place annually
in 2002-2010 (the participation of the Home Union teams being only sporadic),
and since 2011 this championship has been organized in more Grand Prix tournaments
(this time with the participation of England, Scotland and Wales).

Being a game much simpler and much more accessible than rugby union,
rugby sevens was admitted in 2009 as part of the Olympic Games
beginning from 2016.

The Romanian international debut at a high level in rugby sevens
was in 1986 at a tournament with the strongest 16 forces in the world of rugby,
organized in Sidney (Australia),
where the Romanians lost two matches (6-24 Samoa, 4-21 Argentina)
and defeated Japan (12-6),
being classified among the first 12 teams of the competition.

Then Romania participated for the first time at the Hong Kong tournament in 1992
and had the chance to meet British Barbarians (score 0-22),
and then the ability to win the Bowl Cup (mini-tournament for places 17-24),
defeating Thailand (32-0 in quarter finals), Malaysia (30-6 in semifinals)
and Papua New Guinea (18-12 in the final).

Romania also participated
at two editions of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

Thus, in 1993 (in Scotland),
it was outclassed by Fiji and South Africa,
marked a try against Wales (score 7-33),
made a close match with Japan (15-17),
and through a victory over Latvia (22-5) obtained the 17th place.

Four years later (in Hong Kong),
it was outclassed by France,
marked a try against Australia (score 7-38),
gave a very good reply against the founder of rugby sevens, Scotland (14-26),
and, through a superb victory over USA (17-12), obtained the 13th place.

At the European Championship (first variant),
Romania obtained the best place in 2010, the 6th,
along with a memorable victory over Italy (3rd place in 2009), 19-12.

In the European Grand Prix Series era,
Romania obtained the best result at the Bucharest Grand Prix in September 2011,
winning the multiple (and current) European champion, Portugal (21-19),
and the best place, the 8th, at the Lyon Grand Prix in May 2013.

In September 2013, before a new Bucharest Grand Prix Sevens,
the First Quarter Moon gave me an idea…

…which I consolidated after I saw a sunray shower
over the rugby half-ball building of the ROMEXPO,
conceived by a former Romanian international rugby player,
Ascanio Damian.

And I made the following work,
using other photos with a sunrise series (16 September)
and a crowned Full Moon series (the last before the Autumn Equinox,
in 19 September):

-astro-photo-poem by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-

Sometimes the rugby world
is named Ovalia
because of the shape of its ball.

But if possibly Rugby XV
was inspired by the
oval orbit of the Sun…

…then probably Rugby VII
was inspired by the
oval orbit of the Moon.

The second (and last) Sevens Grand Prix in 2013 took place in 21-22 September
on the national rugby stadium in Bucharest,
placed right near the Casin Church,
made during the interbelic times in a combined Byzantine-Brancovenian style.

In the first day I could enjoy very impressive European energies:
the disciplined force of the Nordics (Germany),
the complex intelligence of the British teams (England, Scotland and Wales),
the unleashed fantasy of the Latin teams (France, Italy, Portugal and Spain),
the unpredictability of the Slavic teams (Russia and Ukraine),
the bravery of the Caucasians (Georgia)…

Plus the festival of colours given by the equipments of the 12 teams
on the green grass of the terrain!

For this Grand Prix Romania had made special preparations,
using some of the best players from the national super-league of rugby union,
organizing and winning, one week before,
a tournament with the best eastern teams from the European Union:
Poland, Cyprus and Moldova (a state associated to EU).

But in the first day of the Bucharest Grand Prix 2013
the Romanians lost three close matches (which they could win!)
to Wales (a difference of only two conversions),
Georgia and Portugal (differences of only one try),
and won Italy (semifinalist of this edition).

Also in the first day,
the Romanians made probably their best ever match
against the current European champion and world vice-champion, England,
keeping the score in a draw until the last minute,
when the English players marked the decisive try (7-14).

On that evening I enjoyed the pre-equinoxial Moon,
and on the autumn equinox day (22 September) I went again to the stadium,
this time to watch the semifinals and the finals.

In the tournament for the Bowl Cup (places 9-12)
Wales (accidentally fallen here) outclassed Ukraine…

…while Romania made an excellent match,
defeating Spain (used rather to play for the first places), 17-7.

Then I was the happy witness of the greatest ever result
of the Romanian players of rugby sevens,
who defeated (19-14) a Home Union team,
Wales (former world champion in 2009),
and won an international trophy!

In the second day the show was intensified by the stake of the finals,
Scotland defeating Germany for the 7th place,
Portugal defeating Georgia for the 5th place,
Russia defeating Italy for the 3rd place,
and England defeating France for the 1st place,
under a sky interestingly spoilt by clouds and sunrays.

And even if the Romanian team was only on the 9th in Europe in 2013,
the Romanian Rugby Federation became the European co-champion
(together with France, organizer of another Grand Prix in 2013)
in organizing Rugby Sevens Grand Prix Series.

Under the Equinoxial Sun!


© 2015 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)