First game of the RWC 7s / Photo: Mike Lee / KLC fotos for World Rugby
The Rugby World Cup Sevens officially got under way this morning when Fiji and Spain ran onto the pitch inside AT&T Park. For American viewers, one face might have looked familiar: Teresa Bueso Gomez, a current student at DI Elite Lindenwood University. She played the entirety of the match against Fiji and helped Spain to a 19-12 win to advance to the Cup quarterfinals.
“It’s crazy because we’ve been working so hard for this game and we’ve dreamed of this moment so much that it’s crazy to actually achieve it, and to be here, and to be the first game of the World [Cup 7s],” Bueso Gomez said aglow.
Spain established the first lead through Barbara Pla and kept answering through Marina Bravo and Elisabet Garcia Martinez, as Fiji dotted down two tries. As the clock wore down, Fiji sustained an attack inside Spain’s 22 and then a yellow card gave Fiji the edge it was looking for. Spain defended its line furiously as the clock ticked into injury time. And then, the ball squirted out of a ruck and Bueso Gomez was perfectly positioned for the poach.
Bueso Gomez for Lindenwood / Photo: Jackie Finlan
“It was hard because we were defeding our try line and we just knew that we had to be disciplined,” Bueso Gomez said. “And we turned over the ball and I just saw it on the floor and I thought, ‘It’s now or never.’ So I just dove there.”
The Lindenwood Lion scooped up the ball and Fiji was penalized shortly afterward. The kick out the back of the try zone ended the game and afforded the berth to the quarterfinals.
“We were looking to just play our game and not their game and keep possession of the ball, and I think we did it,” Bueso Gomez said of setting the tone.
As for Lindenwood friends and teammates watching from all corners of the country, “Thanks to them, I’m here, and I love them so much. And this is for them, too.”
Spain will play its second game of the day at 5:52 p.m. Pacific against the winner of Australia vs. Papua New Guinea.