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...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heart-warming, inspiring... or just a little bit scary?

Last weekend New Zealand film director Faramarz Beheshti premiered one of the most remarkable - and indeed unlikely - sports documentaries, perhaps ever. Even before the premier it was gaining some headines, and since its launch it has already been selected for the Milan Film Festival, and is being hailed by some as "the biggest sports documentary in the world" this year.

The subject of the film is women's rugby. In Iran.

There is a short trailer for the film - Salam Rugby - on imdb. Its taken Faramarz over three years to produce and shows how - despite the barriers - girls across this large, scary, male-dominated country have taken to this alien, and worse still western, sport. Apparently over 1,000 girls and women play the game (or did at the time the documentary was made), which meant that they were able to take part in the 2009 Asian Sevens championship in Thailand where they finished an impressive 9th out of 14.

Unfortunately, since the documentary was filmed (but hopefully not because of it) things have gone backwards for the game. Two of the teams featured no longer exist - thanks apparently to the Interior Ministry rather than a loss of players - and all male coaches, who had been coaching womens teams and also featured in the documentary, have now been banned from coaching women. There is no news about the fate of any of the players, but the lady within the Iran RFU who was responsible for promoting the game and getting the national team to the Asian Sevens last year was removed from her post shortly after the tournament. There was no Iranian team at this year's tournament in China, but a team has turned up today at a small sevens competition in Cortina, Italy so all may not be lost.

Needless to say there is no news about the film being shown anywhere in the UK. A cinema release is a bit unlikely, but its the sort of thing that the likes of BBC4 picks up on so its not impossible that we'll get a chance to see it.


  1. Hi John Birch.

    Faramarz Beheshti here ( Salam Rugby).
    I am very impressed with your knowledge about women rugby in Iran. Your very well informed.
    Did you see the film?

  2. I'd really love to see it - but I have no idea where it would be on show in the UK.

    Thanks for the complement. I've picked up some bits and pieces on Iranian rugby in the past from various sources (it has that "man bites dog" element to it that journalists seem to like) which I was able to work in.


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