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...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

England Sevens avoid Group of Death

The day after England announced their very young and inexperienced sevens squad for Dubai (2-3 December) - the result of a clash with the Black Ferns tour, rather than adventurous thinking on the part of the English selectors - the draw for the tournament seems to have been leaked by the Spanish RFU. Though as yet unconfirmed by the IRB, the draw does make sense as it seems to be largely based on the result of the 2009 World Cup - with one important alteration.

If the IRB had kept strictly to the 2009 rankings, Pool A in Dubai would have brought together Australia (winners in 2009), England (5th), Canada (6th), and Brazil (10th) while Pool B would have been USA (3rd=), South Africa (3rd=), Spain (7th), and China (9th).

However, the unbalanced nature of these groups seems to have resulted in a bit of tinkering that moves England from Pool A to Pool B, at the expense of Spain. It has to be said that recent form suggests that Canada and the USA should also have swapped groups, but perhaps IRB's knowledge of the relative form of non-European teams is limited.

The result is that the weaker Pool B should see England's young team win a semi-final place - though whether they will go any further is questionable. Pool A, on the other hand, gives have no room for mistakes for any team with the deciding factor perhaps being the order in which the games are played - whoever plays Brazil last will benefit from knowing what they have to do to make the last four.

The (unconfirmed) pools, as announced by the Spanish RFU, are:

Pool A: Australia, Canada, Spain, Brazil
Pool B: England, USA, South Africa, China

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