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...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The great experiment begins

After a few weeks training the first part of the New Model Season for girls' rugby starts this weekend with county trials taking place across the country on Sunday. For clubs in Hertfordshire these trials will be at Welwyn, starting at 1pm.

This will be the first time that every county has had its trial on the same day - indeed in some parts of the country this may be the first time that a county has had trials, partly because we have now moved to RFU counties which results in some name changes. There were also no "early" trials anywhere this season, not least because all of the "traditional" tournaments - like the early season Sussex event - have also disappeared.

This year the county season is much shorter - and the trials are much more important. There will almost certainly be no 'A' or "Development" squad, and so no opportunities to make a name for yourself on the field over the next two or three months. If you do not get into the squad this weekend it is unlikely that you will get a second chance - and that matters because county rugby will be the route to the four new Divisional squads, and then next summer's TDGs.

Its a tough call for anyone with any ambitions beyond club rugby - and almost impossible for girls new to the game or even a new age group - but that is the what the RFUW have decided and we have to make the best of it.

However, this pales into insignificance beside what comes next. The following weekend the new club leagues are supposed to begin - "supposed" because we (and the RFUW) simply do not know how many of the clubs entered in the leagues will actually make their games, a problem made worse because RFUW will (quite reasonably) only allow affiliated clubs to take part, and the latest published list had a significant number of missing names!

There is one big surprise in the rules - and it has the potential to invite all kinds of dispute and gamesmanship (or, if you prefer, blatant cheating). To try to "ensure that girls get as much rugby as possible" RFUW will allow clubs to borrow players from other clubs - to quote the rules...
"A player can only be borrowed to help fulfil a fixture, for example to make up playing numbers or to cover a position specific. Players cannot be borrowed to enhance a teams playing ability at the expense of players within your own team or to gain a bonus point."
It was a necessary thing to do - but it is also a huge hostage to fortune. Quite how on earth RFUW intend to police that final, rather important, sentence is anyone's guess as the rules are silent on the point. What is more, given RFUW's lamentable record on dealing with the blatant cherry-picking of players by teams that made a complete mockery of the old National Cup, it must be a bit of a concern. Hopefully they have learnt from that and will not allow the more silverware obsessed clubs to ruin this competition as well.

Because this has to work. Deeply unpopular initiative though it is - I have yet to speak to any club coach who thought it was a good idea - this is only game in town now so it has to work. And no doubt it will, on paper. League games played, there will be league champions, and they will all play off for the new National Cup. There will be a National Champion, and pats on the back, photographs, and congratulations all round. What might have happened if RFUW had just left things alone we will never, unfortunately, know.


  1. Anonymous2:06 PM

    And maybe as a side game we get to play spot the talent migration (for those girls borrowed who stay borrowed)......

  2. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Out of interest how will this work on the registration side of things. Surely players must be registered to a club to play in a league, if for no other reason than insurance?
    This seems to be a mine-field in waiting.

  3. Anonymous8:01 AM

    No updates anywhere on how the brave new world of league games went then?


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