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...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sweden's teenage rugby hero

More information has come out today about the hero of Sweden's remarkable win over Italy yesterday - she is probably young enough to play for our U18s, and most of you have played more rugby that she has!

Wing Jennifer Lindholm is barely 18 year old - and has only been playing rugby for a year. She was originally a baseball player, but with nothing much to do at the end of her season she and a few friends came along to a rugby training at her home club in Enk√∂ping - and was captured by the game straightaway. 

She soon gained a place in her club team (at an age when she would probably not, under current rules, be allowed to even train with adults in England!) and within months was selected for the national development squad. Her lightening rise through the ranks continued with her selection for the World Cup training squad, and following her performances in England last month, the team for the opening game yesterday.

Her moment of fame came in the dying seconds. Deep in their own half the Swedes won a scrum against the head, and the ball found its way out to Jennifer for the first time in the match.

"I was very nervous before the match, "she said, "but I always know that it may be the only the ball you get, and once you receive it, just run. I was just thinking that I would run and run. This is what I do best."

Which is what she did - sprinting 55 metres, beating three Italian defenders on the way, before touching down in the corner (see picture on the left). The kick was missed, and the final whistle went, and Sweden had won.

As a result Jennifer, and women's rugby, seems to be all over the Swedish press, TV and radio today to an extent practically unheard of in England. Heaven alone knows what coverage the game will get if Sweden go one step further on Wednesday and qualify for the finals.

As for any campaign to get Sweden into the Six Nations, unfortunately they would face one small problem that even Jennifer could not get over - the weather! Swedish rugby only emerges from its annual deep freeze in April - home games during the usual Six Nations programme would be impossible!

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