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 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

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