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, October 12, 2009

Yet another breakthrough for women's rugby

They really are coming thick and fast - but of all the advances for women's rugby in recent months an announcement today is not only the most unexpected, but also one that could be one of the most significant.

The Professional Rugby Players' Association - effectively the trade union for players in the Guinness Premiership - today announced that is will be reorganising itself to become the Rugby Players' Association (RPA), expanding its membership to include players from the Championship (the level below the Premiership)... and also "elite women players" (a term that isn't defined by which presumably includes members of the England squad if not slightly wider)!

At the very least this is a huge mark of genuine recognition for the women's rugby - its senior players are now being treated as equals by the top players in the men's game. What is more this recognition is not obviously linked to anything else - there is nothing here that might be cynically linked to some wider campaign (like getting rugby into the Olympics, which might be seen to as explaining the IRB's improved view of the women's game). Women are still - in essence - amateurs - though they benefit from lottery-based training grants that allow them to concentrate virtually full-time on the game they are not under contract to anyone, unlike Championship and Premiership players - so there was no requirement to include them in the new "Union".

This is significant because the PRA - now RPA - have been a pretty powerful voice in developing and supporting the interests of its members... and that will include women players. It might, for example, include equal access to training facilities and coaching, funding for international tours, or the inclusion of women's rugby in future TV contract negotiations.

But the big thing is that by being a powerful voice in ensuring equality for women players at the top the RPA could have an effect all the way down - for example if the England squad is treated the same as its men's equivalent it will become increasingly difficult for the levels of the game below to treat women's teams differently.

It will certainly help insure that the RFU does not allow its attention to drift away from equality now that the Olympic place has been achieved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Total Pageviews (since June 2009)

Sport Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory