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 21, 2011

Lies, damn lies (etc.)

How many women play rugby? A common enough question, but remarkably difficult to answer (as this blog has highlighted now and again). All national unions issue statistics on such matters, but it has to be said that the basis of these figures are both inconsistent and of dubious accuracy. For example the RFUW's count - has been often said - seems to be a wild undercount when compared with the more statistically legitimate surveys that Sports England periodically produce.

This is because Sport England actually ask a cross-section of the population what sports they have played within the last six months, whereas RFUW rely on data that is an off-shoot of the Rugby First database, the club player registration system. Trouble is there is no incentive for clubs to - for example - remove players from the system if they stop playing, add them if they start playing (unless they are actually playing in a tournament), or register at all if they are girls or women (because girls and and women are almost never asked for any registration cards for any tournaments at any level). In addition - as the register automatically defaults to "male" for every new entry - it is amazing how many male rugby players called "Sophie" and "Amanda" there are (or were when I last looked).

The good news is that - at last! - RFUW are trying to do something about this, as they have circulated all clubs with an appeal to put their registrations in order. Its a tough ask - despite the fairly heavy tone of the missive sent out from Twickenham, while there remains no practical incentive to register players the RFUW totals will remain an undercount.

However, it is not a problem unique to England by any means as a glance at the latest player number statistics from the rest of the Six Nations shows. Some seem about right, but some are just...

Well, put it this way. Below are the Six Nations, the six totals given for their number of women players by each of the nations. But the totals and the teams have been mixed up.

Which official total applies to which nation. Can you guess?
Nation Official number of women players
a) England i) 9957
b) France ii) 2764
c) Ireland iii) 850
d) Italy iv) 7310
e) Scotland v)13893
f) Wales vi) 2874


  1. Anonymous10:07 AM

    You can do a search on names on Rugby First???

  2. Kind of - when you enter a new name it "checks" to see if similar names have already been registered. It was not unusual (say 10% of the time? roughly) to find that - when the female names I was putting in came up with close matches - the girls/women matched were actually down as "male".


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