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...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

World Cup stays in Europe

In what might be seen as a surprise, the IRB today announced today that the next World Cup will be in France.

After Wales (1991), Scotland (1994), Netherlands (1998), Spain (2002) and England (2010) most people expected that the tournament would have to go somewhere other than Europe. As a result, when in 2009 bids were invited to host the 2014 event, no European RFU came forward.

However, last year's World Cup in Guildford and London changed everything. First, the huge success of the event raised questions about whether awarding the tournament to small nations such as Kazakhstan or Samoa would be a backward step. But - perhaps more importantly - England 2010 raised the question of whether such nations could afford to host the event.

Despite record, capacity, crowds England 2010 - in effect - just about broke even. Despite the quality of the game, at the moment the game simply does not attract the commercial support available to men's rugby and, without a supportive media and big crowds, even giving the tournament to a country like the USA would risk significant financial loss. As a result all of the bids received last year were rejected,  the competition reopened, and in the end  IRB probably had no alternative than to return Europe.

And there could not be a better host than France. Arguably the "home" of international women's rugby - no nation has played the game longer - French women's internationals have for years routinely attracted significantly larger crowds than those that we generally see in England. No country is more likely to be able to host a profitable event.

Teams will be based at the French National Rugby Centre - the CNR - in Marcoussis (southern Paris), and that games will take place in and around the city.

No details were released about the qualification process (if there is one!), or about how many teams will take part in the finals (only 12, as in England, or more - as there were from 1991-2002). Hopefully these rather important details will be announced very soon - the clock is already ticking...

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