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...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rugby movie opens in US - future of the game in cinema goers hands

The first attempt at a mainstream US Hollywood film based around rugby - Forever Strong - opened across the US last night and followers of the sport over there will be watching the cinema returns as closely as any of the movie's financial backers.

Rugby is unlikely to breakthrough into the public consciousness in the States purely as a sport - not only because the US men's team will not be winning their World Cup any time soon (ultimately the US sports media is just as sexist as everyone else so regretably their brilliant women's team aren't on the radar), but also because sport in the US is a branch of showbiz in a way that is difficult to comprehend anywhere else. So the way into the hearts and minds of the US public is off the field. 

Not that this film is going to have people flocking to play the sport on its own - but what it will do is open the gates to other movies on a similar theme. There are plenty of good stories that can be told around rugby - and not just as a background to the Nelson Mandela biopic. It has all the strength and power of American Football, but is much more photogenic - you can see the players' faces for starters - and those that play can be much more easily represented as "ordinary Joes" than pro-sports super-millionaires. Its got real potential. And what the US movie industry makes, the world watches.

But at the moment Hollywood is deeply sceptical. In fact they have given Forever Strong one weekend to prove itself. This weekend. Top US periodical Rugby Magazine has sent a plea to every subscriber or anyone else on their mailing lists to drop everything, load up the car with family and friends, and get out there and see the film. 

"The studios in Hollywood have threatened to pull this film nationally after one week", they say, "if we don't have a GREAT opening weekend. They don't believe that rugby has a big enough audience to make this film profitable."

It is not an exageration to say that the future development of rugby as a significant sport in the US - and worldwide - will be decided in 258 cinemas from Alaska to Florida this weekend. That or its back to relying on the IRB to expand the game worldwide... not something they have shown any inclination to do in the past 100+ years.

So please - if you are reading this in the USA - its time for you to do your duty! Get to a movie theatre showing this film any way you can. Guzzle that coke, eat that popcorn, drag along as many people as possible. Rugby needs YOU!

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