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, April 19, 2010

A strange tale of two tournaments

There are two major international women's rugby tournaments in Europe over the next few months. One is the IRB Women's World Cup - the most important women's rugby tournament - which takes place every four years, and features the best 12 teams in the world. The other - the FIRA European Trophy - is an annual tournament for Europe's second division of nations - mainly those who are either not in the Six Nations, or who failed to qualify for the World Cup (the exceptions being Italy and Sweden respectively), plus the French "A" squad.

Okay, so what is strange about that? Well...
  • One tournament will be played at a series of club rugby grounds across a region, all with permanent stands and ground capacities of 2,000 or more (in some cases much more by the looks of it), and will climax in a final at one of the area's largest sports stadium with seating for 29,000.
  • The other tournament will be played at a university sports field with no permanent seating - though a temporary stand seating 650 (mainly for "VIPs" by the sound of things) will be constructed - and will climax in a final at a stadium that seats around 14,000.
Guess which is which? Here's a clue - if the two French teams reach the finals of their respective tournaments, France A will find themselves playing at a ground twice the size of the one graced by their senior squad.

Odd, isn't it? The European Trophy is an important event - it is vital to the development of the women's game in Europe - but its not a World Cup! So how come FIRA and the FFR (French RFU) are using stadia at least twice the size as those being used by the IRB and RFUW for the World Cup? Does South East England lack for rugby grounds? Does the IRB have less money to invest in women's rugby than FIRA? Or do some people somewhere lack... ambition? Belief? A sense of occasion? Or something?


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    John - you have missed a major point - having a capacity for 29000 when 29 people will turn up is ridiculous. A full house at the Stoop will be an amazing atmosphere. Stop being so negative.. look at the number of responses to your posts - mainly nil. We are starting to create a great interest in the game and you do a good job promoting it - stop looking for the dark side........

  2. Thanks to Facebook et al the responses do get a bit scattered these days...

    I could also have pointed out that all previous World Cup Finals have been in major stadia - Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, etc. I wasn't aware that these suffered from a lack of atmosphere. And if atmosphere is an issue, why are FIRA an the FFR using such large grounds for their tournament?

    But the main issue is really not the final - at least that will be at a rugby ground. Its the group games. All indications are that the Surrey Sports Park will only take 2,000 spectators - at most. That is absurd.

  3. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Is there a way of ensuring all comments made on any of the formats get duplicated to all of them? That way very relevant comments which do get made might not get missed by those taking an interest?

  4. I wish there was - certainly there is no automatic way. I could repost them here, but then I'd also have to repost comments on here elsewhere, etc. - which would get very complicated!


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