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...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

And Australia make it 11

After their win over Samoa this morning, Australia are the 11th qualifier for next year's World Cup. All we wait now is the outcome of the Asian qualifier, which is likely to be in Singapore in October/November.

Congratulations are due to the Australians, but the margin of their win 87-0 with 15 unanswered tries - must be a cause of concern. This was a game between two teams, both from rugby's top 10 (going on the past two world cups) - indeed they are officially only two places apart. Moreover Samoa have beaten Wales, Ireland, Kazakhstan and South Africa in the past, and had put a real effort into this, with trials in three countries selecting the best players they could find.

It may, of course, be that the Australians are suddenly a much better team than in the past - we don't know. They may be Sevens champions, but that is rarely a guide to XVs - they have beaten New Zealand several times at Sevens without coming even close at XVs.

What your are forced to conclude is that gaps are growing worryingly in women's rugby. Rather than the game coming together the leading seven or eight teams appear to be pulling away from the rest to an alarming extent.

And where now for Samoa? Will they play any more tests at all for the next 4-5 years - and how big will the gap be by then?
  • After the game Australia's Debby Hodgkinson was awarded the IRB's fenale "personality" of the year - an odd title that allows the IRB to give the award to both administrators as well as players. This was principally in recognition of her contribution to Australia's Sevens world cup win.

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