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, July 30, 2011

Undercurrents not going in the right direction?

Another article about the Canadian pay-to-play protest (below) has come out (see here) - and I suspect there will be more (indeed I hope there will be lots more).

This article gives a bit more background - but of more concern is that it also unearths some worrying developments.

First, there is the news that annual "CanAm" test between the USA and Canada - one of women's rugby's oldest fixtures - has been dropped this year due to funding problems. In a way its not a major problem, and  no real a surprise especially when the teams will meet at the Nations Cup, which starts next week. But even so it is hardly good news.

What is more worrying is that it is pretty clear now that if you want to play women's rugby at a high level in North America then an ability to shell out $4,000 or more per year is of greater importance than actual ability.  A sport - and especially a team sport - that restricts itself to the financially comfortable is not a sport that can ever grow. Admittedly, to be an international in any amateur sport costs - as one of New Zealand's leading players revealed this week - but, having put in all that time, missed all those holidays, put careers on hold, and then still being presented with a four digit bill - even having to buy your own international shirts for heaven's sake! - is plain wrong when if you were male you would not have to do the same!!!!

What is even more remarkable, however, is that a clear impression given that men's and women's rugby in North America are financed separately - it is not one game - and that IRB funding systems not only allow this but even encourage it. Funding is tied - earmarked - to certain gender exclusive projects.

Isn't this meant to be one game? Is it even legal? Where would your average rugby club be if it put all its income from male and female members into separate accounts, and then said that women and girls could only use the facilities that their account paid for? The High Court, presumably....

And that is all before you read about the strong hint that - unless the WRWC 2014 includes a proper African qualifier - Kenya at least will cease to play 15s, which will presumably mean Uganda will as well as they will have no-one to play. You cannot remotely blame the Kenyans - what is the point of a XVs programme if it leads no-where? It could be brinkmanship by the Kenyans, of course, but is this is real evidence of a possible reduction in 15-a-side rugby. What would the IRB's view on this be? Would they care?

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