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, August 27, 2010

More international rugby: Japan to tour England

Next week the Japanese women's team will be making a short tour to England, and as their games are in north London you might be able to catch them in action.

Japan are one of the oldest international rugby teams. They played in three of the first four World Cups, and have had an international women's team longer than "traditional" rugby nations such as Scotland, Ireland, or Australia, but years of internal mismanagement resulted in the game stagnating and Japan being largely left behind as the rest of the women's rugby world moved forward. Between 1991 and 2008 the Japanese went on only one overseas tour - not a way to develop a team.

In last couple of years, however, the main Japanese RFU have taken over the running of the women's team from the women's union, and have started a long term plan to turn round what should be a powerhouse of Asian rugby - after all there has been a well established club game in the country for nearly a quarter of a century. The potential is there.

As a result they have started a series of fairly low profile overseas tours, playing leading club sides in friendly matches rather than full-blown, high profile international games. Last summer they hopped over the Pacific to play some games in the Canadian province of British Columbia, and this summer they are here.So on Thursday they will be playing Richmond, and on Saturday - the day before the World Cup Final - they will be at Bramley Lane to play Saracens (at the moment I don't have any kick-off times).

Their team will be a mixture of youth and experience. 37 year old former captain and wing Angela Elting returns at No8, while second row Chikako Sasaki will be putting on the national colours again at he age of 39. They are joined by 25 year old centre Akari Fujisaki - who is also semi-professional volleyball player - and 23 year old Nobuko Noge, one of her country's leading shot-putters, who will be by the far the heaviest of the props at 88kg.

Their target is the 2014 World Cup, and with Kazakhstan barely treading water internationally, its a realistic possibility.

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