Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Friday, February 22, 2008

The other Six Nations

While this weekend all attention will be focused on Paris for the [men's] Six Nations, Britain's most successful international rugby team will be continuing to generate about as much press coverage as Icelandic water ski-ing.

So for those who have missed it so far, England's women's team tomorrow face their biggest challenge in their bid to win their third successive Grand Slam when they meet France in town of St. Gratien on the outskirts of Paris. So far they have followed a 55-0 win over Wales with a 76-6 win over Italy. France, on the other hand, started with a fairly comfortable 43-15 victory in Edinburgh but then struggled to beat Ireland (historically the weakest Home Nation) at home, winning only 26-17.

England are therefore firm favourites to continue with a three year run of success that has seen them lose only one game - the 2006 World Cup Final against New Zealand - in the past three years. Since that game England have scored over 300 points in seven Six Nations games, conceding 18, and have also beaten USA (ranked five in the world) 34-0. Such is England's strength in depth that their "A" team is also unbeaten in internationals, despite playing almost exclusively against other countries' full-strength teams.

This all makes the media's near blackout of coverage of such a success story all the more remarkable. I don't think anyone is expecting live TV coverage, but it is not too much to expect for "expert" rugby commentators to at least a mention what this team is achieving (even if only to contrast this with the recent performances of the men's team!). This would be the situation in any other sport that I can think of - but not, it seems, rugby where our media experts seem to willfully ignore the women's team. Finding out whether or not the England team's run of success has continued on Saturday may require the utilisation of some high-powered magnifying glasses on Sunday morning.

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