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, December 30, 2008

County start planning for regional weekends

As last year, Herts county are planning for run fixtures and/or training for U12, U15 and U18s on regional dates for girls who do not make the rehional teams - so, based on nominations, we can safely say that is most of you.

There will be nothing on the date of the regional trial - 11th January - but there are very firm plans for a session, ideally inter-county fixtures, at Welwyn on 25th January and Eastern Counties are have invited Herts to a session somewhere in Norfolk or Suffolk on 8th March. Other dates to be arranged.

These fixtures will be ideal for EVERYONE to attend. Not only will you get to play full 15-a-side fixtures, but with the regional players away it is a great chance for younger girls or girls relatively new to the game to play - and maybe catch the coaches eye for county and maybe regional selection next season.

Start time at Welwyn on the 25th will be the usual 2pm (meet at 1.30).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Women's Rugby Magazine - launching soon??

Back before the start of the season it was announced that an attempt was to be made to create a magazine devoted to women's rugby. This was great news - though not the first time it has been tried and all past attempts had failed to get to even the first issue - so there was a degree of scepticism in some areas.

However Susan Hughes, whose idea this was, had a new approach - and online magazine, rather than a traditional paper affair - a concept that would slash costs, allowing her to offer subscriptions of only £12 per year. Articles were sought from various players and commentators on the game (including me!) in September... after which things went a bit quiet.

Until recent weeks when a website appeared - At present it appears to be something of a Beta Site (ie. looks nice but doesn't quite work properly in places) but it is a promising development. To begin with it was simply reproducing RFUW press releases, but of late this has been interspersed with a few short paragraphs of editorial from Susan. Quite how far we are away from seeing the first edition of the full magazine itself it is difficult to say - at the moment you cannot actually complete the subscription process, which may indicate its not quite ready yet.

Anyway - once it is up and running properly I would appeal to as many of you as possible to support the initiative. While the mainstream rugby media either ignores the women's game (or at best uncritically reprints official press releases) women's rugby, both nationally and internationally, desperately needs an independent voice. It is incredibly unhealthy for any activity to have rely on official sources for all its news and comment - even the most well organised governing body needs to be asked a few questions from time to time. One of the main reasons why I publish so much stuff that has nothing whatsoever to do with club affairs is that quite simply no-one else (outside the USA) is - if a proper publication can take this job on then the game can only be the winner.

So drop by the site and register (that part is free). Send Susan your encouragement, and once she is ready get ready to break open the piggy bank!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seasons greetings from RFUW

Hayley makes the team

A few days late, but news has come through that Hayley has made the East Region senior squad.

This is quite an achievement. Hayley was comfortably the youngest trialist, and the only player never to have played senior rugby, amongst nearly 40 players most of whom play at Premiership or Championship level. But based on her performance it really isn't a great surprise.

This does mean that we will have one fewer player at the junior trials in January as players are not allowed to be members of both squads.

County selections for regional trials

Congratulations to the following girls who have been selected to trial for the region - and thanks to Jess for passing the information on (we think this is the complete list, but if anyone else has been invited please say!):

Nikki Alcock
Hayley Guilder
Jess Robinson
Emily Vivian

It may be that - for various reasons - not everyone will be able to get to the trials in January, but to be selected is still an achievement and deserving of recognition. Well done to all of them, and commiserations to those who missed out.

And before anyone asks we still don't know the result of Hayley's senior trial. She was due to be told one way or another by last Friday, but still no word (and apparently she is not the only one, so there must be some hold-up somewhere).

PS. ...and I understand that the electronic registration system is now working.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The "record" that isn't

It is suggested that I am overly critical of RFUW at times, or even "do not support the England team". Its not true - and, having touched on this before, I was going to let this item lie as it didn't need repeating. 

But having now seen the claim repeated - uncritically - on three or four different rugby websites I reckon the time has come to for someone to put things straight. What am I talking about? Well, take this from the fledgling Women's Rugby Magazine website (which I'll be reviewing shortly):

The claim first appeared in the RFUW match report from the weekend's game against the Irish President's XV and has been popping up on various sites throughout the day. 

And the teeny snag is that its complete baloney.

Even if last Saturday's game was an international (doubtful to put it mildly), although England have not lost a game since the World Cup final in 2006 it is also worth remembering that New Zealand have not lost a game since 2001. That alone should have given pause for thought. England do play more often, but even so "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof" and you'd think someone would have at least checked on the Black Fern's record before leaping into print?

Because if they had then they would have found that New Zealand's win against Australia last month was their 23rd consecutive win - still four ahead of England. At least*.

Its a shame really, because chances are that within the next 12 months or so England - with ths Six Nations, Nations Cup, etc. - will indeed overtake New Zealand, so the premature announcement serves no purpose. I just hope that the IRB do not republish the RFUW's release as there could be a few annoyed Kiwi's...

*"At least" because it is, frankly, doubtful that -even if this was an international - it was England's 19th straight win anyway. I won't bore anyone with the details, but suffice to say that if RFUW insist that games against President's XVs count as internationals, then the same must apply to games in tournaments for full international teams regardless of England's own selection policies for those tournaments. 

Regional trials: registration problem confirmed

Several of our girls have been sent links to register for the East Region junior trials next month (actually I don't know exactly who yet - anyone want to admit to having the call?).

Anyway it appears, after one or two girls contacted me, that there is a fault with the RFUW's electronic registration system - essentially you cannot get beyond the first screen before an error message comes up. I know that this was worrying some as the closing date is quite close (2nd January), so anyone going away for Christmas might be concerned about not getting their registration in time.

The message I have had is to keep trying. I hear that it may be sorted out tomorrow or soon thereafter. However, if you are going away and find you cannot get your registration through before your leave then I suggest you email you acceptance of the trial to, maybe copied to regional manager Phil Robson. You should include details of your preferred positions and also shirt size.

Ex-coach gone West (part 2)

Earlier this month we unearthed one of our former coaches alive and well way out west - well, here's another one.
Admittedly Joe is still a familiar face at Legends Lane too, but most of the time he is in charge of a new bunch of players - Gloucestershire's county teams (Under 18s above).

And a pretty good job he is making of it too. A week ago he took his charges on the long trip to a triangular fixture in Newquay where they took on Somerset and Cornwall. His U18 squad were pretty devastating thumping Cornwall 50-0 before dismissing Somerset 32-0. Unfortunately Joe's press release doesn't mention how his U15s got on but overall Joe said that "both squads have put in some really notable performances which is really pleasing to see” so presumably they have done pretty well.

Both Joe and many of his girls now turn their attention to matters regional, with Joe manager of South West North. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

World Cup 2010: European qualification process announced

First news about the qualification process for the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup (WRWC) has been announced... by the Swedish RFU. The IRB were supposed to be publishing full details back in October, but seem to have forgotten all about it. Luckily the Swedes have not decided to wait for a formal IRB statement, and have just published full details on their own website. In Swedish

So this is quite possibly the first time this information has appeared anywhere in English...

And the shock headline news is that Europe are to be given six of the 12 places, instead of five in 2006 and the top 12 teams in Europe (based on current FIRA rankings) will compete for these places.

The first four places will be awarded to the top four teams in the 2009 Six Nations. The two teams finishing fifth and sixth (probably Italy and Scotland) will then play off for the final two places against Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Germany, and Belgium in a tournament to be held in Sweden in May. Details here.

The effect of all this is that another part of the world loses out. As four of those six teams must inevitably be USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand this means that all the nations of the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific Islands, Asia and Africa now have only two places to play for. Somehow.

It would be nice if the IRB could maybe explain how it intends to get this quart into a pint pot. I don't think we should hold our breath, though.

Result from Dublin: Irish President' XV 8, England 19. 
Sounds like an impressive performance by an understrength Irish team... No match reports available yet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Women's rugby goes primetime (sort of)

Lichfield RFC will be giving women's rugby two minutes of primetime coverage on ITV1 tomorrow evening.

Admittedly the nature of their media fame may not be quite what the rugby authorities would be hoping for, and they will be sharing the screen with "33 cheerleaders, three wrestlers, two knights, 11 mod scooters, two belly dancers, five stilt walkers, three jugglers, five BMXers and a hovercraft"

Lichfield will be taking a staring role in an special advert to relaunch Cadbury's Wispa chocolate bar and, in the ultimate example of an advert being more interesting than the programme that surrounds it, the two minute production will be broadcast during ITV's All Star Mr and Mrs Christmas Special tomorrow night.

Apparently the team - which included several England players - were not paid for the day's filming, but were allowed to consume as many chocolate bars as they wished during the day. "One of the team centres managed to eat about 13 and I managed to eat about 10, and had a couple in my pocket for the drive home," said captain and prop Becky Williams - impressive, but overall 6,000 bars were eaten by 400 cast and crew on the day so this was disappointingly below average for the day - I suspect the cheerleaders!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Zealand hit by cash crisis

News overnight that the credit crunch has hit New Zealand rugby in a big way. Its too early to judge whether the Kiwis are unique in being impacted badly by the global financial crisis or other nations are keeping quiet about it, but the cutbacks will affect every aspect of New Zealand rugby, including the womens team - just as they should be gearing up to defend the World Cup in 2010.

The statement is, in fact, a bit vague when it comes to the women: 
"The Black Ferns will have a limited programme in 2009, which will be geared at maintaining continuity and preparations for the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2010. Women's players will be in contention for the New Zealand Women's Sevens team which will play at the first ever Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai in March."
They didn't exactly have an extensive programme to begin with, playing only Australia in 2007 and 2008, so this might point to an end to even that fixture in 2009. However in the lead-up to previous World Cups the Kiwis have visited North America for various international tournaments - it may be that they will have to prepare this time without the benefit of these events. 

Elsewhere, England continue their preparations with their "uncapped friendly" (to quote Irish sources) against an Irish President's XV on Saturday. The dispute between the two nations over the status of the game remains unexplained, but is reflected in their selections. While England will be close to full strength the Irish squad includes only three players who started last season's Six Nations game between the two teams while including five players who were not atthe recent 40-strong Irish national training camp. A pretty comprehensive England win can be expected in a game that will tell us very little about the strength of the two teams for the 2009 Six Nations.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What can you do when you can't play rugby?

This is a perennial problem in Canada and much of the rugby playing areas of the USA, it seems, as they have to have a winter break - because it gets too cold.

Well, one Canadian international has a solution. When its too cold to play and she feels starved of the buzz that comes from playing (what some studies suggest) is rugby's most dangerous position (full-back) Heather Moyse leaps (literally) into a bobsleigh to travel at 100+mph down an ice covered tube. And she is pretty good at it too - being breakman in Canada's No. 1 bob, and last weekend was winner of a World Cup race in Austria.

Not sure how much of a solution this would be to rugbyless weekends in East Anglia, though, being as we generally lack a) snow and b) mountains (or even half-decent hills come to that). Perhaps mud sliding could become an Olympic sport?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OAs say "come and try adult rugby"

Following on from Hayley's taster on Sunday, OA Saints are offering U18 "taster sessions" for all U18 players in the County who are due to move up to senior level next season.

Obviously OAs intention is for you to think about playing for them when you are over 18, but regardless of who you may be thinking for playing for (or even if you are not thinking about it at all) the sessions should be worthwhile attending.

In order to fully cater for these sessions OAs need to know the likely numbers that maybe attending - so please email Tasha Saint-Smith, and/or let me, Mike or Dave know. Parents are also very welcome to come along and meet the team.

If enough of you are interested OAs plan to send a "Saint" introduce themselves prior to these sessions, which will be on the following dates:
  • Weds 28th January, 7.15pm (OA's training pitch)
  • Weds 11th March, 7.15pm (OA's training pitch)
If you have any questions or queries, please contact Tasha.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The warm-up as an art form

Cheap video and YouTube means that there are a growing number of short films out there showing various aspects of women's and girls' rugby. Some - well most - are a bit ho-hum but Your Scrumhalf Connection is proving very good a selecting the best each week, and this Monday's is a true piece of art.

Quite what the producers were aiming to achieve with Rugby Film I am not sure, but the result is somewhere between unique, quirky, amusing, fun, and just plain neat. Well, I thought so. Enjoy!

"International" irritation

Forgive me for being apparently needlessly pernickerty, but I find this annoying - and in a way rather telling of a certain organisation's attitudes.

As you may know, one small sideline I have been working on is a definitive list of all women's internationals - mainly because its not something that anyone else has done (not least the IRB, who expend huge effort on recording the most obscure men's internationals but can't be bothered to keep records of more than a tiny fraction of women's games).

One slight problem with this is that different countries can have different opinions about whether or not a game is an international or not. And of all nations possibly the most pedantic when it comes to the awarding of international status is England where the RFUW, for example, uniquely refuse to recognise most games played by England in the annual FIRA European championship as internationals because (in most years) England happen to select an understrength, development, team for the event.

Yet RFUW are calling this Saturday's game in Dublin between England and an "Ireland President's XV" an "international" - even though their opponents are (by definition) not a full national side - presumably just because they are fielding a full England team!

Is it just me, or is it the height of arrogance for one nation to feel it can dictate whether or not a game (or entire tournament) should or should not be considered a full international based solely on the level of team it selects?? Its hard work at the best of times to get the media to take women's international rugby seriously - such wild inconsistencies of interpretation by those within the game really do not help.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Playing with the big girls...

At least one of our girls got some rugby in today!  While our other county stars were twiddling thumbs following yesterday's cancellation, Hayley - at the request of regional and national coaches - was down in Upminster in London for the East Region's senior trial.

Around 40 women were present, all playing exclusively adult rugby and all (bar three - Hayley being one) playing for either Premiership or Championship clubs (ie. the top three tiers of women's club rugby). 

A few were familiar faces from previous year's U18 regional teams - so it wasn't a complete leap into the dark - but junior rugby's sole representative did look a bit slight as the three hour trial began. 

After two hours of various drills the game came round in the gathering gloom (unfortunately my camera is not quite as good as Mike's and Phil's, as you can see) the minor inconvenience of a finger bent at an unusual angle did not stop some familiar runs (above).

As we moved into the second half, another Hayley break at outside centre sucked in the defence, and a quick pass out of the tackle (left) lead to a try.

Then a few minutes later the inside centre (Katie from Wasps? we think - fantastic player whoever she is!) broke through, passed to Hayley, who sprinted away from a Saracens centre...
... to score her first "senior" try!

After that it as all tackles and a very happy looking "junior" at the end of the session. 

The squad will be announced by Friday. Obviously there may be complications from "guaranteed" selections from higher squads (as at England U20s), but overall this looked from the touchline to be Hayley's best trial for a long time - so fingers crossed!

As for the overall standard? Personally I did not think that the players were any quicker or more skilled than most U18s - in fact on both counts the standard was the same as we saw from Reading last week. Having seen trials at U18s and now adult the major difference is simple physical size. The average player is significantly stronger and also - as a result - the impacts are heavier and harder. Overall this was ideal for Hayley, but none of the rest of you should be overawed by it. By the time you move into adult rugby, especially with several years of rugby under your belts, you should not be out of place in an event like this.

PS. Meanwhile, elsewhere in London, England A beat Italy 20-0. See here for report.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weather forces county cancellations

Late, late news from Nottinghamshire - the U18 section of the NLD tournament has been cancelled due to waterlogged pitches at Mellish, but so far as I am aware the U15 tournament at Paviors is still on. Having spent the day in these parts I have to say that I am not remotely surprised that Mellish is off as driving in that area was not much fun.

Elsewhere county U12 training at Hitchin has also been cancelled, while the England A international against Italy (see below) has already been moved to the Old Deer Park, Richmond - and may still be cancelled if conditions deteriorate. A decision will be made early tomorrow morning. In the meanwhile last night, before the monsoon hit, the England Development team beat Italy A 20-10 (report here). 

Its really been an awful first half of the season for rugby tournaments. Rochford, Beckenham, Essex County and now NLD all cancelled - for different (generally unavoidable) reasons - but it makes it all the more important that the events planned for spring 2009 go ahead. 

The only main threat there at the moment remains the Not-The-Rfuw National 10s, but lots of work is going on behind the scenes to come up with a formula that Twickenham will accept so that that event can go ahead, and the weather should have improved a bit by the time we get to the sevens tournaments in May! 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

International weekend: World Cup 2010 starts here

Well, not literally here - more at London Welsh this weekend when what are effectively England's 2nd and 3rd XVs take on the best from the world of of Italian women's rugby in fixtures that will be vital to both nations' world cup preparations. 

The weekend of international rugby begins tomorrow night when a team officially called the "RFUW Development XV" - the England 3rd XV - take on Italy A, the Italian's 2nd XV.

For England its a rare international chance for the up-and-coming young players on the fringe of the main squads to have a chance to show what they can do against adult international opposition. The last time an English Development team took the field in a similar fixture was in the lead-up to the last World Cup when they played Netherlands 1st XV home and away, losing 15-14 in Amsterdam before winning the return 15-5. 

Many of the Development team are drawn from the current U20 squad, backed up by other players currently knocking on the door of the main England squads. With more than 18 months to go before the World Cup there is still plenty of time for these players to make their mark.

Although they are playing the Italian 2nd XV, the sheer mathematics of player numbers will alone make the Development team favourites. The Italian  RFU claim to have 1500 registered players, but that is barely a tenth of the number of players RFUW can select from. 

Similar maths points to a win for England in the second international on Sunday, when the England "A" team take on the the Italian 1st XV - but that is before you take into account that England "A" are probably the second strongest team in Europe (after the England 1st team!). They have only ever lost one game against a national selection - when they were beaten by USA 1st team (then ranked 5th in the world) in 2006 - and they have never lost (or even been seriously troubled) by a team ranked outside the top ten, as Italy are. 

This is an England team packed with talent, including four players - Claire Allan, Rachel Burford, Vicky Massarella and former Hertfordshire junior Michaela Staniford - who already have significant international experience, while all of the players will already be members of the England Elite squad. All of them will be trying to catch the selectors eye, both for the World Cup and the forthcoming Six Nations.

For the Italians, these games are possibly even more important than they are for England - regardless of the results. 

As there will probably be only room for five European teams in the World Cup, the team finishing bottom of the Six Nations this season are very likely to miss out - as Wales discovered four years ago. Following their win over Scotland last season, Italy are no longer the also-ran of the Six Nations. A good performance - and above all a single win this season - should be enough to see an Italian qualification, almost certainly at the expense of Scotland. Scotland have failed to arrange any pre-Six Nations games this season, so by providing their top 30-40 players with highly competitive warm-up fixtures the Italians are stealing a major (and possibly decisive) advantage over their Caledonian rivals.

Fridays game at London Welsh between RFUW Development and Italy A kicks off at 7pm, while the Sunday game between England A and Italy begins at noon. Unfortunately extensive media coverage of the games is not expected, so we'll be relying on the RFUW website to let us the outcome of the games, hopefully early next week.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

IRB begins to act on equality gap (but fails basic maths)

The IRB have finally recognised that their track record on women's rugby could be a major stumbling block when it comes to their Olympic ambitions. Today they appointed former Irish WRFU President Susan Carthy as the IRB's Women's Development Manager - probably the first time the IRB have appointed any woman to a senior management position. 

IRB president Bernard Lapasset said that "Susan will be working closely with our 116 member unions and six regional associations to ensure that the key goals of the IRB women's strategic plan are implemented and in particular to provide assistance to developing unions in enabling them to grow the women's game." 

The problem of a game being run by an exclusively male governing body was mentioned a few months ago. The IOC have a target that 20% of senior positions on sports governing bodies being held by women and, while it is just a target at the moment, clearly any sport with no women at all in any administrative positions would have a bit of explaining to do, as the IRB have finally realised. 

So now the IOC have one woman. Whether one out of twenty-odd is enough is a debatable point - especially when the role created for Susan has no effect on the men's game (whereas the decisions of a heck of a lot of men have an effect on women's rugby) - and it says a lot about attitudes when the IRB treat the appointment of a woman to run women's rugby development as if it were a major breakthough. However, the longest journey starts with a single step and it has to be admitted that it is a start. Women's rugby will now have a voice on the top table who can campaign to improve the game - both at the IRB and in member unions. Whether it makes a difference in practice only time - and Susan - will tell and her record in Ireland in recent years must give us some confidence.

One thing she might perhaps start by doing is bring a degree of reality to some IRB statements on the women's game. For example, at today's conference Lapasset also said that "Susan's appointment comes at a time when the women's game is experiencing phenomenal global growth and interest, growth that is clearly highlighted by the 83 unions who participated in the qualifying process for Dubai."

Hmmmm.... 83? Admittedly around 83 nations could  have entered - but they didn't:
  • South American qualifer: 8 nations
  • European qualifiers: 33 nations
  • Oceania qualifier: 5 nations
  • African qualifier: 7 nations
  • Asian qualifier: 9 nations
  • North American/Carribean qualifier: 8 nations
I don't know about you, but I reckon that 8+33+5+7+9+8=70. Not 83. So why the near 20% exaggeration, Bernard? Or were you not following the qualification process particularly closely?

Generally it is impossible to contact IRB officials by email as the IRB does not publish any email addresses (or any other contact details beyond its office snailmail address). However, Susan may be an exception and - based on an interestingly worded job advert published last year - can probably still be contacted at

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reading Rule!

It was a very frosty morning at Letchworth this Sunday and all the pitches were frozen solid but a good deal of wintry sunshine was just enough to thaw out the top pitch by the 1pm kick off of the U18s match against Reading.

With Letchworth down to only 10 fit players this weekend, Reading kindly loaned the home side a brace to allow a 12-a-side match to take place.

The first half was close fought but with Reading generally on the attack and Letchworth resolute in defence and just a single try separated the teams at the interval. In the second half, however, the Reading attacks were relentless and the visitors were eventually amply rewarded on the scoresheet though the home side tried every way they could right to strike back right up to the final whistle.

Final score : Letchworth 0 Reading 41

A face from the past

Do you recognise anyone in this picture (clue - extreme right)

Yes - its our former assistant coach for part of the 2006/7 season, Mike Crump, now back in the South West working last summer as a community coach with Cornish Pirates, the National One side formerly called Penzance & Newlyn.

It seems that Mike has been with the Pirates for well over a year now, and is heavily involved with developing school links. He also turned out for the club's amatuer team last season, but has now moved his on-field activities to nearby Hayle RFC.

(Thanks to Joe for spotting this)

Trio of Legends at NLD

Three of our U18s will are in the Herts squad for the final county fixture before the regional trials - the Notts, Lincs and Derbyshire tournament at Newark Mellish (sorry!) next Sunday. The girls selected (with their shirt numbers) are:

5 – Laura Watson
7 – Jess Robinson
19 – Nikki Alcock

After this tournament, and based on performances across the three fixtures, county coaches will select players to go forward to the East region trials in January.

Friday, December 05, 2008

... and from New Zealand...

Both Dave Roberts and Spike from Swaffham have also pointed out another valuable coaching website - the NZRU's Coaching Toolbox. However for some reason it has been unavailable for the past couple of days so I didn't include it earlier.

Now I have managed to get in it looks an amazing resource. One slight quibble would be that the procedures for the scrum engagement in some of the videos are now out of date and would certainly have been in appropriate for the age group linked anyway - but that is relatively minor.

Again, take a look as should you ever be involved in any sort of coaching or support then it'll be invaluable to know what resources are available support you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Your club needs YOU!

Sam Fulling is now officially asking for volunteers to take part in a vRugby project. It may sound a bit daunting, but there is loads of support available. YOU get to choose the project, which can be matched to YOUR club's needs. As well as the satisfaction that would come from taking part in vRugby you'll also get great experience that will be invaluable in anything from a GCSE PE course to a UCAS application or a CV.

If you are interested, or even just want to know more, then let me, Wonky or Mike know - or drop Sam Fulling a line ( But be quick about it - the offer is only open to a limited number of clubs, and if Letchworth don't put forward other clubs will.

On a related subject some recent men's rugby internationals have hinted at the vaguest possibility that the colonials may know a thing or two about how to play the game. Yesterday I passed on some links to some of their training videos, and as a result Dave Roberts, ex-Letchworth coach and now coach of the county's boys' teams, has provided me with links to an even more comprehensive library of training drills and tips.

The ARFU's Library of Drills includes clear videos on all aspects of play. Its divided up by age band, but really the categories reflect the relative experience of players, so the age "7-8 drills" would be suitable for complete beginners of any age. Also many of players demonstrating the "younger" videos are girls. 

If you are involved in any coaching (as part of vRugby, or a GCSE PE course, or supporting your school team) this could be an invaluable resource (its certainly better organised website than anything from the RFU).

Exciting plans for Legends Lane

Dave Sharp's latest post on the main club website gives more information about the plans to massively improve facilities at the club over the next couple of years. If you have looked on the main notice board you may already have seen the plan, but to add some detail the development would give the club:
  • Five full-sized rugby pitches
  • Floodlighting on three pitches
  • Two junior pitches
  • A new car park for 250 cars
  • New access roads
  • Improvements to the pitches (an end to mud baths?)
  • A possible new clubhouse
A lot of the funding for this will be coming from the Heritage Foundation, though the club will be having to raise its own money as well - especially for the clubhouse. 

Planning permission is now being sought, but if and when this goes ahead this it will give Letchworth some of the best facilities in the Hertfordshire (or Bedfordshire), rivaled only by the likes of Old Albanians or the University of Hertfordshire.

Sunday 7th December

This Sunday there is an U18s home match against Reading scheduled to start at 1.00pm but, unfortunately, no U15s fixture.

Please meet at the club at 11. 30am.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Training tips and techniques

I've discovered a series of interesting short videos from Australia illustrating various practices and coaching drills. Many of them are for small groups - the half-back/scrum-half race (video 6) only needs four, for example. Worth looking at...

I've also come across another series of rather more introductory videos which are worth looking at because - almost uniquely I think - all 12 feature only women coaches and players. They are the work of a player/coach - Miriam Richmond - from Montana in the USA. They are a bit basic and have to confess that Miriam's accent does get to me after a while, but as a means of demonstrating basic rugby moves to new or potential players (at school, for example) they are valuable if for no other reason than there are no men in them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Legends Lane on TV

Our home ground has been on TV (again) - not actually at its springtime best this time, more at its "typical" muddy winter guise. The occasion is the visit of a Spanish team (Barcelona) to play the men's 2nd XV, because they are in the same league. Yes - Barcelona are in a Hertfordshire rugby league - the film explains why!

Anyway - enjoy and maybe remember a few similar games you have had on the same pitch.

To watch the video go here

Back at number 1

There are times when this feels like a bit of nerdy self-agrandisment, but I cannot resist mentioning that the latest blog rankings are out shortly. Our good friends at Total Flanker have had a sneak preview of the new standings - and we are up again!

Though it does not show up yet, in a few days the official site will show that The Letchworth Girls Rugby Blog is now an amazing 5th in the nation's sports blogs - and back at number 1 again amongst the rugby blogs!

No sign of Sky or Rugby World beating a path to the door yet armed with large cheques, but we live in hope. 

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