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...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A team to beat the Black Ferns?

In the follow-up to the World Cup various World XVs have been published and discussed - teams made up from the best players in the World Cup.

This is all very interesting - and great fun - but the problem is that the teams picked have no-one to play, at least not until Mars takes up the game. Perhaps more realistic might be whether it is possible to come up with a team that will beat New Zealand - a Rest of the World XV to play the best in the world?

It has been done before. Back in 1990 there was a World Rugby Festival in Canterbury - a few months before the first proper World Cup. It featured USA, Netherlands, USSR and New Zealand and, after the main tournament, a XV chosen from the other three sides played the winner (New Zealand). New Zealand won (12-4), needless to say - apart from anything else they were used to playing together, which the World XV were not.

Maybe the time has come for a repeat. If so, and based on World Cup performances, who could the world outside the Land of the Long White Cloud put together to take on their four-time champions?

1.  Rochelle Clark (England)
Impressive performances throughout the tournament - at the heart of England's impressive pack

2. Laetitia Salles (France)
Ever-present as French hooker in two World Cups, a lynchpin of the most successful element of the French team (the maul) - and moreover scorer of two tries in the 2010 tournament.
3. Jamie Burke (USA)
US captain, hugely experienced, put in several impressive performances - especially in the final game against Ireland.
4. Tamara Taylor (England)
5. Jo McGilchrist (England)
The England second row partnership - peerless, even in comparison with the Black Ferns - especially McGilchrist who had an amazing tournament.
6. Heather Fisher (England)
Missed the final owing to injury - probably the most significant absence as prior to the final Heather had had an excellent World Cup.
7. Maggi Alphonsi (England)
Is any explanation needed?
8. Debby Hodgkinson (Australia)
We knew she was a good Sevens player, we didn't know she was a brilliant 15s star as well - and moreover one that got better and better as the tournament went on. Was fantastic against England.
9. Frida Ryberg (Sweden)
Tricky choice this one, but - with her pack under unbelievable pressure in every game - Frida never failed to get the ball away (a heck of an achievement), and speed of pass would be important against the Ferns. 
10. Katy McLean (England)
At no position is there greater competition, and - although Katy did not have an outstanding final - her kicking from hand was still far better than any competitor. And if there were any doubts about her goal kicking then there alternatives below...
11. Nicole Beck (Australia)
Is there even the slightest doubt about this? An 80% plus goal kicker, she flies like the wind with ball in hand, can side-step like a dream, and as for the tackling...
12. Sharni Williams (Australia)
A crowd favourite - and with justification. Give her half a yard and you are dead. A scarily good centre.
13. Lucy Millard (Scotland)
A nugget of pure gold in a very average team. Amazing feet - always a threat with the ball - coupled with super defence.
14. Heather Moyse (Canada)
A sporting superstar. Strong, fast, clinical. You do not get to be the leading try scorer in two consecutive World Cups without being very good indeed.
15. Danielle Waterman (England)
Produced more gasps from the crowd in the final than any other player. Seems so small, but has a hand-off that would stop a charging rhino. She can also tackle like a runaway train, and run like the wind. What more do you want?
16. Catrin Edwards (Wales)
17. Amy Garnett (England)
18. Joy Neville (Ireland)
19. Marie Alice Yahe (France)
20. Christy Riggenberg (USA)
21. Cobi-Jane Morgan (Australia)
22. Kat Merchant (England)

Other players who would join a touring party to New Zealand would include:
Stéphanie Loyer (France), Kelly Russell (Canada), Catherine Spencer (England), Mel Berry (Wales), Zandle Nojoko (South Africa), Fiona Pocock (England), Charlotte Barras (England), Nimah Briggs (Ireland).


  1. Anonymous11:23 PM

    What about Megan Gibbs?

  2. michael james west6:22 AM

    yep us in kiwi land would love to see a lions type tour of godszone 4 tests and games playing some of our combined unions in both north and south island before the world cup (male ) takes place we would support it with great gusto it would be so good for all to see these supurb atheletes to play the game we love yours sincerely michael james west

  3. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Awesome team this. Not the world XV that I requested but this definitely makes sense.

  4. This team would beat anyone I believe! Love it.

  5. Yvette2:56 PM

    Although she actually was in the World XV in 2003, I do miss Non Evans in your list John. And the IRB list of the WC XV's chosen by the WC coaches...


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