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...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rugby League plan five-fold increase in number of female players

Rugby League is rarely heard of at this end of the country. There are one or two men's amateur teams (the nearest in Hemel), but no women's or girls sides this side of Nottingham [amendment - apparently there is a women's team in London!]. However, that could change in the next few years as the sport - armed with grants of nearly £30m - looks at switching to playing in the summer, and expanding the game southwards.

Professional rugby league has been a summer sport since 1996, and the semi-professional "conference" has also gone the same way. Only amateur (and therefore all girls') rugby league is still played in the winter. However, this could all change very soon as part of a plan to expand the amateur and junior game - plans that aim to increase the number women and girls playing the game from 4,000 to over 20,000 by 2012.

At present the girls' game is restricted to Yorkshire and Lancashire, but in these counties the RL already claim to have more players than RFUW - so once established it can be a significant competitor, and its strength is possibly a significant reason why the North West Region at least has never been a significant force in girls' rugby (they even pulled out of the regional championships four or five years ago due to a lack of players). The RL has had long-standing plans to run girls club and schools tournaments further south, but until now nothing has come of this perhaps due to the strength of union in the south.

This could change as one effect of a move to summer rugby would be to end the competition for players  (the RL Conference summer season runs from May to September) and make it possible to switch codes, playing League in the summer and Union in the winter. While League may not be an attraction for all (especially some specialist forwards, such as most front row), it could be a really attractive summer option for many players - especially perhaps second row, flankers and larger centres and full backs. League is also a far simpler version of the game, and tactically much closer to tag rugby which could make it very attractive to young players.

This may seem all a bit theoretical at the minute, and a long way away too, but the Rugby League are saying that these changes could happen within a year - and they have a real incentive to expand quickly as any grants beyond 2012 will be dependent on their hitting their player targets. It will be interesting to see what RFUW's response will be if women's and girls' League teams start appearing in the south...


  1. Anonymous10:36 PM

    What about the West London Sharks? They won the Women's Rugby League Conference in 2008 and play during the summer? Several Richmond players have played for them in the past....

  2. Thanks for that - didn't know about them, and maybe that shows problems with the RFL website! Interesting that they play in the summer - the impression given is that this is not the case! ANo sign of any junior RL, though?

  3. Anonymous11:28 PM

    You also have the Coventry Bears RL team which lost to Bradford in the National Final last year!
    Girls aged 16 and above have been playing for them!

  4. I really enjoy watching the rugby games especially when young girls play this game because it is good to see how aggressive and strong they are while playing. It's nice to know that many young girls today are interested in joining the rugby league club. For me, encouraging the youngsters to engage in such sports like rugby will hone their leadership skills and perseverance. I believe when you let your daughter become a part of the youth rugby league, the risks in getting involved in drugs, alcohol, and smoking will be less.


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