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...

Friday, May 07, 2010

International week across Europe

There is an important week of international starting tomorrow.

For the "home nations" the final U20 international (see here for the England team) takes place in Taffs Wells where England seek to improve on their 17-7 win over Wales last month in Guildford. Its been a relatively disappointing season for the U20s after last season when - following a massive win in the Nations Cup - they could reasonably have claimed to be the best age group team in the world. As a result a defeat to France was a bit of a shock, and the win over Wales was significantly closer than twelve months ago.

This cannot be unrelated to this season's last minute change of selection policy, relying on recommendation from last year's TDG and senior regional coaches instead of having open trials. This inevitably will have meant that many leading older U20 players will not have been considered for selection as adult players have tended to treat the regional programme as a bit of an irrelevance. It anyone doubts that this might be the case it is worth recalling that ex-Legend Sasha Acheson - who starts against Wales again on Sunday, will have played in all three internationals this year, and played in almost every U20 match last year as well - would not have even been considered for the squad at all if the same rules have applied in the past. There has been no statement from RFUW about future selection policy, especially in the light of the abolition of regions.

Outside the British Isles, this is also the week of the European Trophy where the continents "second division" of nations will compete in a week-long tournament that is very important to the development of the game outside of its "traditional" home. Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Germany, Spain and Italy will be joined by a France A team (made of of the leading French players not going to the World Cup).

It should be a fascinating week. Clearly Germany, Belgium and Russia will mainly be battling to avoid the wooden spoon (and potential relegation to FIRA's "B" level of tournaments) - however any of the other five can have a reasonable hope of taking the title. Favourites will be France A - not least because they are playing at home - but Netherlands, Spain and Italy have much to prove having missed out on the World Cup, while that nation that will be in Guildford in August - Sweden - will be desperate to build up a head of steam and confidence for that tournament.

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