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...

Friday, February 06, 2009

RFUW clarify rules on Welsh teams... but doesn't explain Gloucester ban

After some discussion on the RFUW forum, which in turn arose out of the posting here last month, which says that teams from Wales (and other "foreign" Unions) can take part in English club tournaments so long as a few basic rules are followed:
  • The appropriate permissions have been received by either the RFUW or Leisure Rugby Department for the tournament to be held PRIOR to invitations to teams being made.
  • That the tournament is being run by clubs that are affiliated to the RFUW.
  • That the tournament is played under RFUW regulations and age bands.
One small matter of note is that this seems to imply that anyone running any tournament (a term that is not defined - is a triangular a tournament?) must seek permission from RFUW and/or the RFU Leisure Rugby Department beforehand. This is new - I've certainly never seen that as a requirement before.

However, it also does not explain in any way the RFUW ban on Welsh teams at Gloucester. The simple truth is that Gloucester Girls Rugby did not send out any invitations to anyone until last month after permission was given. So all the above rules were followed - but still Welsh teams are not allowed at Gloucester.

Lisa from GGR has produced a long reply on the forum detailing all that has gone on which deserves repeating here, not least because the rather "unique" (ie. out-of-date) nature of the forum software makes it difficult to read as its strips out all formatting. However, it is also the most detailed account of matters that has thus far reached the public domain:
Dear RFUW, 

Some useful positive feedback. 

1) Perhaps place some procedures on the RFUW NGB website about cross border playing as the current information only details the "laws" and states "matches have to be reported", suggesting no application before a match is required to gain permission to play, just as long as the results are reported using "RFUW Match Report Forms" - not that this matters in this instance over the much pressed Gloucester City 10s event. 

2) Perhaps also help respond to event application forms in 2 days rather than 3 months

3) Actually thoroughly read application forms (the first sent 09/09/08 clearly stated Wales had been indicated by the acronym "WRFU" and "SRFU" too just in case!) 

4) Perhaps pick up the phone and talk to volunteers, telephone numbers are listed in Table 2 of the RFU event application forms 

5) Maybe observe name changes on forms (National to Local on second application sent on 02/01/09 )

6) Perhaps speak to the organisor of an event over issues (and inside the country) before going outside to get facts correct, and in this case before speaking to the Elite Manager at WRFU - (your emailed and stated "counterpart"), who was nothing to do with Community Rugby, and who would have advised you that her colleague and the Welsh Community Manager responsible for community rugby representing WRFU had emailed Aug 08 and advertised to her clubs that they could enter the event

7) Do whats best for the children and the game. 

An attempt to cover tracks through publishing new procedures, fair enough, but the fact is that permission was requested, and refused, refused, refused and refused and consequently invites have only now been sent to 17 out of 42 registered interested clubs. Yes, I repeat, now a decision has been received, invites have now just been sent. (Just as one would not organise an event without first ascertaining the interest in it, nor would one wish to cancel an event with much interest). 

So 120 Welsh players registered interest to play, supported by their NGB. What would make RFUW so adamant that they should not allow them to play when actually procedures old and new were followed? Copies of last years emails from WRFU, of RFU Leisure Event Application emails with 2x application forms available upon request. 

Irrelevant of procedures, negotiations, conversations, emails and forum chats -the fact is, somewhere, someone has made the ultimate decision to exclude 120 children - irrespective of what, when, who, where or how - they should be playing rugby and all of us have failed them. 

I feel ashamed of this decision (if no one else does). We can all masquerade failings in procedures and excuses, all of us should be concerned and certainly the IRB should be very concerned. The Government and charities are ploughing millions into health strategies and campaigns to get kids into sport. 

Hopefully more than 3 clubs will attend the RFUW Board AGM, (and request to move the meeting if it is inconveniently planned next time). Reading the forums, there are plenty of agenda items to help our professionals focus on more productive outcomes - perhaps to help to promote, encourage and inspire volunteers and players. I would like to suggest the need for a "National Community Manager for Volunteers" who focuses on communication with volunteers and for the grassroots game and club development, (which would help fund the elite game through greater numbers) and to prevent just a focus of the elite Player Pathways for the very special few. 

Yours in great expectations. 
Lisa Holmyard 
RFU Leadership Academy. 
I think we all now await the RFUW's response to this with considerable interest. If there is one. After all, the tournament is not until April so there is time yet for a change of heart.


  1. Excellent letter from Lisa - would be good to see their reply to this......

  2. Anonymous2:15 AM

    RFUWFORUM Fri, 06 February 09 14:04 GMT

    Lisa, thank you for your feedback.

    The RFUW


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