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, September 10, 2010

The most important breakthrough yet?

England flanker and (arguably) the player of the world cup, Maggi Alphonsi, will be joining the Sky Sports commentary team for their coverage of the English Premiership this season. This is a huge breakthrough for both Maggi, and women's rugby in general.

While TV coverage of women's sport will often include a female summariser, it is almost unheard of for a woman to be given such a role in men's sport. For a major sports broadcaster to recognise that a leading female rugby player can be as knowledgeable as a male is a huge vote of confidence in both the player and the game she plays (though it seems amazing to have to say that in the second decade 21st century!).

The appointment is apparently in recognition not only Maggi's knowledge and on-field experience, but also the easy and natural style she showed in front of the cameras during the tournament. However, as well as being good for Maggi, the result will be that the women's game as whole will benefit. Maggi will become a face recognised well beyond followers of women's rugby, which in turn means that when she plays she will generate an interest beyond existing supporters. And at last girls will have a female hero that they can look up to.

In addition every time she appears on screen it will send the message that rugby is no longer just a men's game, and that the country's leading rugby broadcaster takes the women's game seriously.

  • One of the other great personalities of the tournament - Catherine Spencer - was also interviewed by Sky about getting back to "normal" after the World Cup. Its well worth watching.


  1. Simon Anderson5:25 PM


    Melodie Robinson, the former Black Fern, has been a member of the Sky Sports (NZ) rugby commentary team since 2002.

  2. Well, that just goes to show how advanced New Zealand is compared with the UK!

  3. Anonymous10:45 AM

    I think Maggie is a little different too because she's still playing and presumably will be for the next four years.

  4. Simon Anderson3:47 PM

    John - dunno about more advanced, perhaps a little more egalatarian. Such is the way of things in small economies: we don't have the economic muscle to sustain antiquated prejudices.

    In Melodie Robinon's case, I think it was a sound business decision on Sky TV's part. She knows the game, is eloquent and engaging and has the credibility of being an international herself. I expect that she is considered insightful and by most rugby viewers and perhaps that she makes the game more accessible to female viewers.


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