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...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Rugby fantasy becomes reality... for schoolgirls in Hungary

Not quite believing their luck...
One of the great sporting fantasies is being suddenly drafted into the national team because they are (for some reason) short of players for a major international tournament. And then scoring the winning try. Its the stuff of the more predictable sport-related movies.

But incredibly it seems this pretty much what happened in Hungary earlier this season.

Hungary's national women's team dominate an international rugby sevens series in central and eastern Europe. In 2009/10 they played 23 games, winning 22 and drawing one. So they started the 2010/11 season with some confidence.

Then, it seems, one week before the tournament, the women's team coach announced that he had set up his own team - called the Battai Bulldogs - and entered them into the league. This team included pretty much all of the existing Hungarian squad. So Hungary had no team, and no coach, a week before travelling to Zagreb to defend their title.

However, they did have the U16 squad (plus coach), who had played a few friendlies against Austria the previous season, and so - with no alternatives available - the Hungarian RFU turned to these schoolgirls to wear the national colours. And so, after one training session, they were off to the pouring rain of Croatia.

First up they had to play the Slovenian national team - fortunately the weakest side in the tournament. Despite the Slovenes being bigger, older, and stronger than "our daughters" (as their website calls them), they are nowhere near as quick and the schoolgirls run out 29-0 winners.

Next up was the first of two Croat teams - Nada Split. "The little girls were asleep at the start" apparently, so let in an early try but still went on to win 35-5. Local team Mladost Zagreb were rather tougher, but the girls still won 22-7.

And so to the final game, against the only other unbeaten side... Battai Bulldogs, the former national team who had not lost to anyone for over a year - and it was not long before the older team were ahead. The girls defended desperately for most of the rest of the first half, trying to avoid another try, until just before the break Huszti Katalin intercepted a long Bulldog pass, levelling the score. Three minutes into the second period the schoolgirls went ahead, and then on the last play a 70m break by Gyolcsos Mária finished off a 21-7 win.

Even more amazing, the girls did it all again a few weeks later in Ljubljana, after which... well, the Bulldogs seem to disappear...

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