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, May 06, 2011

A final with deep meaning

A team with something to prove -
here after their win over France
 (and watch the  video of their celebrations here!)
In 2007 Spain were thrown out of the Six Nations, a tournament they had been part of since 2000. Why? Well, it was not performance (three third places in seven years isn't bad), nor anything due to the support they had given to visiting teams (far from it), or anything else they had done.

No. Spain were chucked out because from 2008 the Women's Six Nations came under the same sponsorship deal as the men's Six Nations, and therefore the management of the Six Nations Council, which meant that the women's tournament had to reflect the men's. And Spain were not in the men's Six Nations, so out they went to be replaced by Italy (who the Spanish women have never lost to!).

So - in short - Spain's women were cast into the wilderness because their men's team were not good enough. Rarely in the history of sport can there ever have been a more unfair, unjustified, openly sexist, and indefensible decision - but Spain had to live with it because the tournament sponsors were waving cheque books - and justice and money rarely make the most natural bedfellows. Especially if the only victims are rugby players that speak Spanish.

Nicola Hoole scores for England against Netherlands.
Now, four years later, the time has come for Spain to show the world how wrong that decision was. A year ago they beat Italy in the final, and this year they have already beaten Scotland and France. And now its England. Well, England "A". But an "A" team containing 11 players with first team caps, so this is no 2nd XV.

Though an England A beat a Spanish team in March, that was a warm-up friendly in front of a handful of well-wishers in Guildford. Tomorrow will be very different - a fired up Spanish team with four years of injustice burning inside playing in front of a big - probably close to capacity - crowd at the University of Coruña. It should be amazing.

Read this ScrumQueens interview with the Spanish coach to see how determined they are. Hertfordshire's England World Cup star Michaela Staniford also anticipates a tough battle.

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