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...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

An international summer

As our club season draws to an end, the international season for England's women's teams is picking up and given the exhaustive coverage to be found in the national and specialist rugby media (not!) I thought it might be of interest to some of you to briefly cover what will be happening over the next few months.

In July there will be a U20 "Nations Cup" tournament in Oakville, Ontario, Canada featuring the top nations in the world (apart from New Zealand) - ie. England, Canada, Wales, USA, and France. This event has been signposted for some time - by Rugby Canada anyway. Information about the event on our own RFUW - and to be fair on the otherwise excellent Welsh RFU - has been thin on the ground but the event promises to be well worth keeping an eye on. The hosts are supremely confident of winning the event, and given the recent performances of Canadian junior teams on tours to Europe this confidence is not unjustified.

In addition Rugby Canada have also revealed that there will be a tournament for the same countries senior teams in the last two weeks of August - and this event will take place in the UK. Again sources closer to home have been less than forthcoming about the event, but assuming our transatlantic cousins have not been overdoing the maple syrup it promises to be a fascinating event - far more significant than the Six Nations, and frankly very difficult to call. Beyond an England win, and probably a wooden spoon for the USA, the final positions are anyone's guess. Personally I'd expect Canada to come a strong second - ahead of Wales and France (in that order), but every game will be worth going to see - if and when we find out where they are to be played... and assuming someone has remembered to book some venues!

But before all that this weekend sees the FIRA European Championship in the Netherlands. There is actually a FIRA championship every year, but only every four years do the main nations - England, France and Wales - bother to take it seriously. Most years the "top teams" only enter their A teams, even supposing they enter at all.

Its a fairly intense competition. Of the top 14 European nations only Italy are not taking part, and the whole thing will be done and dusted in a week. The top eight nations in the FIRA ranking will play in a knock-out event, while the rest will play in a round-robin tournament to be followed by semi-finals and a final. England - the top seeds - will start the tournament on Saturday with a fairly easy game against eighth seeds Sweden. Other first round games should see France have no problem with the Netherlands, while Wales should have similarly few difficulties with Scotland. The fourth game will see Ireland take on Spain... and that one is anyone's guess, but the winner will take on England on Tuesday, which should see England into the final.

Quite who they will meet is far harder to call. The event is obviously designed to give and England/France final, but given the lacklustre performances of the latter recently don't be surprised to see Wales reaching their first major final.

This is all designed to build towards the next World Cup, with the hope tha someone will be able to put some sort of decent opposition to the all-powerful Kiwis. That is assuming there will be a World Cup ... only two and a half years out the IRB do not seem to be expending too much effort on finding a host for it. Rather different to the fuss and hoopla about the mens RWC!

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