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, December 03, 2011

IRB Dubai Sevens: almost right, but...

The "experiment" of the IRB's women's challenge sevens seems, going by all reaction so far, to have been a great success and hopefully from here we can go on to a proper women's series (though the barrier to that is likely to be finding a home for the fourth leg, London and Edinburgh not showing much interest).

If we do go on from here then the main improvements would seem to be...

Get the seeding right. Giving Canada a seeding below USA - while true to the World Cup positions in 2009 - seemed otherwise a strange idea by the IRB. The result was a serious imbalance in the pools that was obvious from the moment they were announced, with Spain (who, it should be remembered, lead Canada 14-0 past halfway in their game) losing out. The Spanish would certainly have been a match for the USA.

The best 8 teams in the world? Well, obviously these were not the best eight teams. Even leaving aside New Zealand's refusal to join in the fun, the fact is that China, and particularly Brazil, were heavily outclassed and its possible to come up with half-a-dozen teams that could, perhaps, have equipped themselves better.

However there is, of course, a very good argument for including them in the tournament (in order to represent parts of the world where the game is growing and developing), but if geography is to be allowed to trump ability then why does Asia and South America get a leg up by not - say - the Caribbean or Pacific? Why should China get a free ride into the tournament but not Samoa, or Fiji (either would be stronger than China)? And why Brazil and not, say, Trinidad?

In short, the qualification criteria for any series next season need to be clear and open. It does not do the game, or IRB, any good if decisions of this importance are taken behind closed doors with no explanation.

That aside, an announcement about a series for next year cannot be long coming. Its certainly long overdue.

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