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, March 30, 2011

Why women's sevens matters

With the season fast approaching its usual hectic climax, its worth remembering that for most of the world Sevens is more than a bit of end-of-season fun. Much, much, more.

The inclusion of women's rugby in the Olympics from 2016 has had no noticeable affect on the game in the UK or Ireland, a fact that makes the "Home Countries" almost unique around the world. Only maybe New Zealand are seemingly as unexcited (or uninterested) by the prospect of seeing their players take part in the world's biggest sports event.

Elsewhere in the world it is a very different story - as this excellent review by the IRB describes. Interest and participation in women's rugby is exploding across Asia - in Hong Kong and Singapore one rugby player in three is now female, while player numbers in China are exploding, encouraged by an Olympic Committee that sees women's rugby as a great possible route to medal success. And its the same elsewhere - Brazil is pumping funding into its women's team; the Netherlands team is almost full time, training four times a week; France (going by the Six Nations) seems prioritising selection for its sevens squad ahead of its 15s; Canada similarly seem to be putting noticeably more emphasis on its sevens than its 15s. And so on.

On the other hand - from the Home Nations - only England are even taking part in this year's European Sevens championship, and that is the only sevens tournament England are entering (unlike France and the Netherlands, who have already been to both the Las Vegas and Hong Kong Sevens). In fact the only European nations not playing women's sevens this year will be Ireland, Scotland and Wales!

On the rare occasions when Home Nations unions have even mentioned it there seems to be an almost arrogant belief that there is no need to do anything yet - that they will be able to roll up to the qualification tournaments and take their rightful place at the 2013 World Cup and then the 2016 Olympics. Well, as the IRB article suggests, they could be in for an awful shock...

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