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, November 09, 2009

Starting gun fired for 2014 World Cup

Four countries have bid to host the 2014 World Cup, the IRB have announced - the largest number ever, though as this is the first time the IRB have run a public competition to find a host for a Women's Rugby World Cup its is rather difficult to compare it with previous tournaments. In the past the IRB has tended to not even confirm that there would be a World Cup until the host was announced, normally only a year or so before the event. If bids were invited, the process was never a public one.

But all that has changed, and four unions have stepped forward. As anticipated, no European nations are in the running - instead bids have been made from Asia (Kazakhstan), North America (USA), and Oceania (New Zealand and Samoa). However, in practice there would seem to be only one likely winner.

While the sight of the New Zealand RFU taking the women's game seriously enough to host the World Cup is a good sign (and long overdue), the timing is rotten. They already have the men's World Cup in 2011 (a controversial decision), which is likely to count against them. It would also be the second successive women's tournament in a "major" rugby nation, and the IRB do like to use the women's and junior world cups as a means of spreading the game. Politically, the other three nations are likely to be more appealing to the IRB.

Of these, Samoa face potential problems not only because of the size and geographic remoteness of the country, but also because as host they would have to take the place of a stronger nation (probably a European one) - which could cost them votes. Kazakhstan have a stronger case, but would have to make major improvements on their performance hosting the Asian championships last year (which sounds like it was something of an ordeal).

All of which makes the USA overwhelming favourites. The only factor against them is that North America (in the shape of Canada) had the tournament in 2006 - but a minor barrier compared to those faced by their three opponents. The US have the facilities, the followers of the game needed to fill stadia, would qualify anyway (so would "deserve" their place in the tournament), and are not one of the eight "major" rugby nations. Tick, tick, tick, tick.

The IRB will announce the winner in May.
  • Since the announcement, the NZRFU seem to have recognised the potential problem their bid has and Radio New Zealand are suggesting that they might offer to share the event with Samoa. Unfortunately, for costs reasons, the IRB have always preferred to stage the tournament in a single city. Spreading it across half the Pacific is unlikely to be seen as workable (or affordable).

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