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, January 07, 2011

Rugger girls: A history of women's rugby (in France). Part 1.

Books about the history of rugby are not exactly thin on the ground. A quick search on Amazon reveals dozens of titles, all of which have one thing in common. They are all about men's game - there has never been a book on the women's game.

Well, not in English. There have been a couple in French, however - and one is currently being serialised on French women's rugby blog Des Filles en Ovalie (DFO). Also called "Des Filles en Ovalie" ("Rugger Girls" - 'Ovalie' being an affectionate slang term for the game) it was published in 2005 and looked back for 40 years of rugby in France.

Although not about rugby in this country, it is interesting in that the pressures those wanting to play had to put up with mirror what happened here - indeed it was probably worse in England, bearing in mind that France started playing international rugby five years before any British team managed to get onto the field.

So - with the help of Google Translate and a French:English dictionary - here is the first extract from the book.
For anyone trying to follow the trail of women's rugby is not an easy task. We need to find witnesses. Unexpected journeys are needed. And we must, too, to investigate old photos. In short, they must take their pilgrim staff and pull together what is left from half-forgotten memories and documents. "What is important," said Claude Izoard, who saw the game begin, "is that girls and women today know what happened. "
Our story goes back to 1965. Groups of students in Lyon and Toulouse decided to take part in the great charitable campaign against world hunger. Most of them had brothers and friends who played rugby, so they decide to organise a charity game at Bourg-en-Bresse.
So, to begin with, there were about forty girls, who formed two teams. The Toulouse team wore the red and black, of Collège Stendhal, while Lyon - the "Violets" wore the purple jersey boys team from USB. Similar events happened elsewhere in France and, gradually, the clubs that are created, and became more organized. Women's rugby begin to structure itself.
Lyon and Toulouse played several times. "We were invited for rugby get-togethers," recalls Frances Izoard. During the 1966-1967 season, led Andrée Forestier (a judo black belt), the teams played eight times, always charity games.
Marie-Céline Bernard remembers her debut well: "I started in 1967. I was 22. I was doing athletics and the Toulouse men's team captain wanted to start a female team. The proximity of Bourg gave them the idea. It was a few games, in the spring, because temperatures were warmer." And so the "Poppies Tournaments" began.
At Lyon there was a certain Claude Izoard, "Zozo" to her friends, an avid rugby fan. "In 1968, they asked me to be the captain. Two training sessions per week on Tuesdays and Fridays. The pitch was terrible. They showered in a sort of hut. It was that or nothing, and they knew it. "
Games between the teams were organized - "competition" would be a big word for the first few matches. "There were always between 20 and 25 girls in training. They were between 17 and 25 years and were mainly school and college students, "recalls Claude Izoard. (...) "
Extract from the book "The Girl in rugby", Editions Atlantica (2005), Jacques B. Corti and Yaneth Pinilla, foreword by Serge Betsen
TO BE CONTINUED ... Next Chapter "NO, AND NO"
Three more parts have already been published on DFO, which will appear on here over the weekend. After that future parts will appear as DFO publishes them, which will be weekly.

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