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...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Honours even Stateside

USA and Canada's national teams have battled themselves to standstill in Florida this week. After it looked like the Canadians had brought the weather with them earlier in the week, the weather cleared up in time for the first test which the Canadians won, coming back from 8-0 deficit at half time to win 18-8 (see this video report).

Yesterday saw two more games, an U20 international being followed by the second test between the senior teams. Both games were breathtakingly close, the Canadians sneaking in 13-12 in the age group game with a try in the dying minutes, but USA gained revenge 11-10 win in the adult fixture after Canada had missed a conversion at the final whistle.

The series was organised to set the two sides up for the World Cup - and continues to show that you cannot get a tissue paper between the two of them. This guarantees exciting games whenever the two play, but the inability of either side to finally breakaway from their continental rivals probably does not bode well for either nation when the main tournament comes round in seven month's time. They are both great sides - but not exceptional.

Of the two, though, Canada probably finished the more satisfied as their near-catastrophic dip in performance last summer has now been arrested and turned round - but that may be at the expense of a discipline problem.  They picked up three yellow-cards yesterday to add to another at what could have been a crucial stage on Wednesday - that is a quarter of the series played with only 14 players. They cannot afford to do that in August.

This is also the third series running where Canada have started well in their first game, but failed to keep the momentum going through the series. And their biggest pool game in Guildford - practically a quarter-final - will be their third fixture of the tournament. USA, on the other hand, seem to improve with match practice - but they are in England's group, so their realistic hope for progress will be as best runner-up and will be dependent on what happens elsewhere.

Between now and then there is the small matter of England's bid for a fifth Six Nations. Can Wales stop them getting a Grand Slam again? Will the rise of the Irish continue? Can France string two consistent performances together? Can the Scots trouble anyone other than the Italians? We've only got three more weeks to wait...

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