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...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

National 10s: Wales show the way

A bit late picking this up, but the Welsh have a good idea when it comes to running a National 10s - they ran theirs at the start of the season. The aim of the day was to get everyone back into a competitive frame of mind before the start of the adult National Leagues and age grade regional competitions.

There are no-where near as many girls teams clubs in Wales, so direct comparisons concerning turnout at these competitions is difficult. Wales, in terms of club numbers, is no bigger than an English region - there are 12 clubs in their National League - so to have four U18 and six U15 clubs represented in the competition was a good turnout (it was also the first competition in Wales played in the new age bands). The U15 winners were Cardiff, with Colwyn Bay runners-up. Neath were the U18 champions.

Several of these teams are expected at April's "NTR" National 10s in Gloucester - which is still definitely "on" at the moment, incidentally. The organisers are working hard to clear a number of (for want of a better word) "unusual" administrative obstacles, but with five months to go (and the active support of several clubs determined to ensure the event goes ahead) they are confident that the event will go ahead.

While on the subject of matters Welsh, another interesting development is that they have effectively but scrapped their junior regional stucture (and they never have the added complication of a county structure, incidentally). The old regions have been replaced by teams run by the four Welsh professional clubs - Scarlets, Ospreys, Blues, Dragons - plus a fifth team (Gogledd Cymru) representing North Wales. The same structure is likely to be adopted at senior level.

Again its an interesting idea. A direct copy in England would be difficult as our professional clubs are just that - clubs - who have to fight against relegation each year (a battle one side always has to lose). The Welsh teams are regional sides who can plan for a long term, stable, future and will see the commercial benefit of establishing a strong identity in a community. In addition, of course, women's rugby in Wales is not a separate sport so there is an obligation on the regional teams to support both men's and women's, boys' and girls', rugby equally.

However, the idea of establishing strong and active links with professional rugby clubs is an idea with some merit. Certainly East Midlands Region have benefited from links with Leicester Tigers in the past, and both Gloucester and Bath have been active in the South West North and South respectively. Talented boys already benefit from being selected to "Academy" teams (including several from Letchworth) - why should not the same happen to girls?


  1. John, there is a pathway for talented players both boys and girls to benefit from the School of Rugby initiative which is supported by the Premiership clubs. I know that last season there were a handful of girls who attended this over in Eastern Counties.
    However I am told that this year there are insufficient numbers of suitable standard to run the girls part of the SoR here. Not my opinion but I'm not making that decision.......
    However there should be that opportunity in other areas of the country. I would be very surprised if it were not the case.

  2. I think the SOR is just the U15s, isn't it?

    But trouble is also that the English SOR is another layer (and how many layers are there?), separate from the regions (and operating to different boundaries). The Welsh system seems to mean that everything operates through the regional structure.

  3. Indeed those are very good points that you make. IMHO at the minute there is no real need for lots of layers in the girls game. (I can see the benefits in principal in the boys game but that is more a numbers thing (or worse).


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