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Spain and Portugal in danger of Sevens relegation

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irbsevens.com     10 May 2014     Getty Images

This season, for the first time, after the ninth and final round of the Series the side positioned bottom of the 15 core sides will be relegated. Currently that is Spain.

10 points sit between them and safety, and their Iberian neighbours Portugal. And while it is mathematically still possible for Spain to overcome that deficit it would involve them reaching a first Cup quarter final of the season.

"Our coach will be saying that there are still opportunities of getting out of the relegation place," said former captain Pablo Feijoo. "I think it´s very difficult to avoid.

“Reaching the Cup quarter finals in London will be very tough especially with Fiji and Australia in our pool.”

Feijoo was captain when Spain qualified as a core side two years ago, and also when they maintained their core team status at Twickenham 12 months ago, one of his personal highlights.

"We have proven to ourselves that we can compete against the big teams,” added Feijoo.

"The biggest thing we learnt was to be a team, behave as a family, sacrifice oneself for the team and be humble, because if we don´t have those things it was impossible to compete against the big nations.

"For the players it´s been a great opportunity to experience what top level rugby is about and to learn how we have to work and train to arrive to that level.

“Qualifying was an historical success for Spain,"

"But I think now it is not understood how the players sacrificed their lives to arrive there, how the coaches left their wives to coach every day, how the managers worked on every single problem...it´s been a very hard job during the last five or six years and now it isn't valued. Thats what makes me sad.

"I think the fans enjoyed watching us playing in the top tier, though. Many people supported us on Twitter and Facebook. In Spain there is not too much Rugby on TV and this was a great opportunity to teach the people what rugby is all about, and to have this kind of influence on society.

For Portugal, their fate is in their own hands, and while they will be keeping an eye on Spain's results, they are preparing no differently to any other tournament and hoping they can remain a core side for next year's Olympic qualifying Series.

“We will prepare no differently for this weekend,” said captain Pedro Leal, who is set to become only the ninth player to score 1000 Series points this weekend at Twickenham.

“But it is vital for us to remain a core side as next year is the qualification year for Rio 2016. The competition level of the World Series breeds the best teams and I don’t believe that any of the eleven teams that have to qualify for Rio will come from outside the Series so we have to keep our status."

Feijoo's teammate Glen Lewis Rolls will be part of the squad attempting to avoid relegation this weekend at Twickenha as Spain attempt to maintain core team status for another year.

"If we were to be relegated I think that overall everyone will take away a lot of things from these past two years," said a former scorer of one of the fans' favourite try award.

"To be representing Spain on the World Series is an absolute honour and privilege and I think that if we do get relegated it is fundamental to immediately start planning how we can win our spot back.

"It is disappointing as a player to know that in a way all the hard work that has been put in for the last seven years by coaches and players to win our spot has been overlooked.

"Now there is a lot of young talent in Spain and kids are playing rugby from an early age, dreaming of representing Spain against the rest of the world and sadly for Spanish fans they will not be able the see the likes of an 18-year-old Pablo Fontes and other Spanish talent coming through, testing themselves against the best."