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...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2010 World Cup Final NOT at Twickenham?

I would never normally publish rumour, and obviously nothing is decided, but I've heard more than once now that - even though the tournament is to be held in west London - the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup final might not be held at Twickenham. 

Its true that the last time the tournament was held in the UK (in Scotland in 1994) the final was not held at Murrayfield, but that competition was organised at only a few week's notice (it was astonishing it took place at all) and moreover was not supported by the IRB - so its not surprising that access to the national stadium was not possible. None of that applies to the 2010 competition - it has the full support of the IRB and RFU, and the organisers have nearly two years to plan and promote the event.

Apparently its down to economics and expected crowd size - something about the owners/ managers of Twickenham demanding that any event at the stadium must have a crowd of something like 20,000 or more (the precise number is uncertain, but the basic concept seems agreed).

This may make sense to the beancounters - but it ignores the fact that Women's world cups are rare, and events of national importance (or should be). The last time there was a comparable sporting event in England was sixteen years ago - the Women's Cricket World Cup of 1993. It was unlikely that holding the final of that competition at Lord's made much economic sense - and the ground was far from full - but the cricket authorities realised that a major international event demanded the use of a major international venue. If they did not take the game seriously how could they hope that the media would? The result was live TV coverage, and massive headlines the following day reporting on an England win which boosted that sport to a level that women's rugby can only currently dream about.

Whatever the economic logic that may be applied (and who is to say that, if marketed competently, the final might not get a big enough crowd?), if what is being suggested came to be it would be a massive public relations disaster - especially in the very year that RFU and RFUW "merge". The very idea of the most important game in women's rugby taking place at some club ground somwhere while the National Stadium is standing idle round the corner would show everyone exactly how important the IRB, the RFU, and the game in general considered women's rugby to be... and likewise guarantee media coverage right up there with Icelandic basketball.

The final has to be at Twickenham. Otherwise what is the point?

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