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, January 31, 2012

New Zealand begin their Search for a Sevens team

Its a method of selection that (if this article is right) sounds closer to a prime-time reality TV than rugby, but New Zealand have begun their search for a 2016 Olympic Star.

80 hopefuls began today, who will be whittled down to 30. Then another cut a bit more before public trial game, after which they'll get the final squad. I think. When it is put like this you really do expect Graham Norton and Andrew Lloyd Webber to be involved...

In fact the guy in charge is one Sean Horan, who is a gifted coach, but could maybe learn to leave off on the patronising just a bit - "What I learnt most from the last week was that the female athletes take things on board very quickly and they are very intelligent when it comes to playing the game".

Perhaps its just reads worse than he meant...

France v England to be broadcast - live!

Fantastic (and unexpected) news. Sky Sports will be linking up with France4 to show the France v England game LIVE!

As reported earlier, the game - which should be the decider for the Six Nations - will be the first game ever shown live on a national French TV channel, a step forward that looked like depriving UK viewers with access to the game. But now the game will be available on Sky Sports 2 (red button) on Saturday Match 11th, kick-off 12.45 (UK time).

Three of England's five Six Nations game will now be available to watch at home. As well as the above, England v Wales at Twickenham Stadium on February 25th will be on the BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport website, and England’s final Six Nations clash against Ireland on March 17th will be streamed live through

Monday, January 30, 2012

Have your say on women's sport

Women's sports magazine Sportsister have launched a "Have Your Say" page for readers to comment on anything to do with women's sport. They are "giving you the chance to use Sportsister as a platform to air your views. It can be a global matter, a nationwide problem or simply something that’s personal to you – but it must be about women’s sport and it has to be relevant to our readers."

To make you views known, click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I play rugby...

This is rather good. Two young Indian women describe their passion for rugby. The second speaker actually plays for the Indian national team (ie. their sevens team - India have not played a 15s test yet).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to promote a women's rugby international

France will begin their Six Nations against Italy in the small town of Riom in central France, and to celebrate the selection of their town as international hosts the people and local council will tomorrow starts TWO WEEKS of celebrations leading up to the game. There will be live music concerts in the town square, exhibitions in the local museums and libraries, debates on women's sport featuring major "sports personalities", visits by sportswomen to schools to promote all women's sport (not just rugby), rugby tournaments, a fashion show, dinners, more music...

Its amazing.

I wonder what the local council for Esher have planned for the England international they are staging?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And in local news...

Congratulations to Sydney Gregson for being selected again for the U18 divisional squad (see Herts Blog for full set of names).

No great surprise, because she is brilliant, but I think it is still worth saying as getting into the Divisional team - especially for London & South East - is always pretty impressive. And - although she now wears a different club shirt - once a Legend, always a Legend!
  • And while on the subject of successful former Legends, its worth recording - for those who did not know - that apparently ex-Legend Jess Robinson is now captain of Loughborough University, even though she is only in her second year. I suspect many people may have know it already, but I didn't - and I think that its an achievement worth recording. Well done Jess!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

IRB announce World Cup qualification process

The IRB have revealed how the 12 teams that will play in the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup in Paris will be selected. The actual announcement is on ScrumQueens but - cutting through the verbiage - it looks something like this....

Automatic qualifiers:
1. New Zealand (holders)
2. England (2010 runners-up)
3. Australia (2010 third place)
4. France (host)
5. USA (2010 5th)
6. Canada (2010 6th)

Other qualifiers:
This is a bit of guesswork as the press release is not exactly clear in places...
7. Asian 15s champions 2013
8. African qualifier (Winner of South Africa vs. 2013 Elgon Cup winner (Kenya or Uganda))
9. Six Nations team
10. Six Nations team
These two Six Nations teams will be the best two teams from the 2012 and 2013 Six Nations combined - apart from England and France.  
11. Euro/Oceania qualification winner
12. Euro/Oceania qualification runner-up
The remaining two Six Nations teams will play-off in a qualifier in 2013 alongside probably other European nations and one team from Oceania. Exactly how THAT will work is not covered - but a best guess is that this will consist of two pools. Seedings will be based on the results of the 2012 European Cup Pool B. The eight teams will probably be...
  • Six Nations team 
  • Six Nations team 
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Russia 
  • Sweden 
  • Finland 
  • Pacific team (probably Samoa, but method of selection to be announced 
The great step forward is the inclusion of Kenya and Uganda in the process - but there is still no chance for the Caribbean teams to take part in the process, or anyone from South America. Its a small step forward, but the IRB could have included everyone. In practice, compared to four years ago one more team is included...
  • Europe - 2010: 12 nations took part, in 2014 11 will
  • Africa - 2010: 1 nation took part, in 2014 3 will
  • N America- 2010 and 2014: 2 nations
  • Asia - 2010 and 2014: identical qualification process
  • Oceania/Pacific - 2010 and 2014: 3 nations
  • Caribbean - 2010 and 2014: 0 nations
  • S & C America: - 2010 and 2014: 0 nations

Women's Six nations on TV... latest news so far (UPDATE)

Unfortunately there seems likely to be little improvement on TV coverage of the Six Nations this year. From what has been announced so far (plus educated guesses)...

Both of England's games will be available to watch live:
v Wales (25th February) will be shown on the BBC. Which BBC channel (or whether just on the Red Button) yet to be confirmed.
v Ireland (17th March) will be shown on - the same system used for the New Zealand tests. See ScrumQueens for more details.

Other than the above, unknown although BBC Wales' Scrum V has shown some highlights in the past.

Bad news is that Scottish Rugby TV - which has shown highlights of some women's internationals in the past - has now closed down. Its pretty unlikely therefore that any home Scotland games will be covered by anyone.

Highlights of home games will be shown, probably on RTE's rugby programme "Against the Head" (not easily available in the UK without clever - and frankly illegal - fiddling with Sky boxes).

France v England will be shown live in France on France4 - a major advance as this will be the first time any women's international will have been shown live on a national French channel. The downside is that this means it will probably not be available in the UK. Highlights from the other French games may appear on, and it is possible that regional TV stations may also offer some coverage which may be available on the web. Bit of a lottery though.

In all probability nothing will be available from any Italian home games.

Second Women's IRB Sevens to be announced

The second official IRB Women's Sevens will take place in Hong Kong between 23rd and 25th March.

There does not seem to have been any official announcement - yet - but Netherlands today announced that they have been invited to take part, which implies some changes to the structure of the tournament - probably to 12 teams - which is not a problem as the women's Hong Kong Sevens normally 12 or more teams.

Netherlands also announced that they have been invited to play in the London Sevens which is "almost sorted". We also know that Canada and France are intending to be there, so another 12 or more team event is presumably planned.

When the official announcement will be made is not yet known - at a guess they want to announce both events together - but clearly the IRB are making sure that all of the teams they want are ready to go when they do the big reveal.

If it is a 12 team event then ten of the teams are fairly obvious - Canada, England, Australia, Spain, Brazil, China, USA, South Africa, France, Netherlands. Quite who the others might be is more of a guess, but logically they would be "local" teams like Japan or maybe Fiji in Hong Kong, and maybe Wales and Scotland in London?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Salam Rugby - the film trailer

I have no idea where or if the full film can be found (see article below), but this trailer was produced. If anyone knows a source for the full picture then let everyone know as clearly it is a must-see picture!

Women's rugby banned in Iran

The appearance of Iran's women's teams at several international sevens tournaments in recent years has been the cause of much comment, not only because of their kit (the IRB bent the rules close to breaking to allow them to play in full body coverings), but because of the way it challenged the portrayal of their country overseas. If women's rugby was accepted even in Iran, how could anyone elsewhere complain about it being "inappropriate".

Well, it seems that internal politics with in Iran has now caught up with these brave women. This article, published in Canada over the weekend, says that all women's sport involving any form of physical contact has been banned - even skiiing (which presumably only involves contact with the ground).

The article also details what the players in Iran have had to put up with since women started playing around 2005 - not allowed to use sports grounds that men have used, coaches banned because they are male, not allowed to practice outside if there was the slightest chance that men might see them, and so on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

USA reach the semi-finals in Las Vegas

It may be a few weeks yet before the first big women's sevens kicks off (three to be exact), but it looks like the USA have made sure they get a place in the semi-finals this year after missing out in 2011. They'll probably play Netherlands.

The draw for the tournament finds the USA pitted against France (5th in Europe), Canada's development team (the Maple Leafs), and Japan (who have no sevens pedigree at all).

Meanwhile, in Pool B we find Canada (world no. 1), Brazil (S American no. 1), Netherlands (Europe No. 3), and USA's development team.

Admittedly it is the USA's own tournament, so they can pick it how they like, but even so its not subtle and its actually rather hard to see how they could have come up with a "better" draw. On the other hand some big USA wins on day one should get them some good local coverage, which is in the end pretty important.

Also interesting to note that there is a real chance that Canada could play Canada in the other semi-final, being as the Maple Leafs beat France in Dubai.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More on the "London Sevens"

Apparently the "London Sevens" is still unconfirmed. It is not an issue about a lack of teams - clearly several leading teams have already put the week aside in the diaries so keen are they to take part - but more an issue of the IRB recognising it.

RFUW certainly want it to take place, alongside the men's IRB London Sevens, as a second IRB-recognised event (after Dubai last year) - but everyone is waiting for the internal wheels at the IRB to grind their way forward (slowed as they are by the usual combination of funding and politics).

The only snag is clearly that time is running out... and teams may start to commit to alternatives (like Amsterdam) instead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

U20 Euro Championship - not this year

More news on the proposed U20 four nations, mentioned below.

RFUW have confirmed that they did propose the tournament, and did offer to run it, but Wales and Scotland later withdrew. England will still play host to France for the same week, playing two internationals, but the exciting new initiative that was the "U20 Four Nations" will not take place - this year at least.

With Wales and Scotland also withdrawing from the senior European XVs championship you have to wonder again what the heck is going on. Though both nations have U20 teams I am not sure that either now have any fixtures planned for 2012, while Scotland's newly-formed A team also seems to have a pretty thin season ahead.

While cost is always an issue, surely a tournament in the UK over the Bank Holiday week could not have been a better or more cost effective means to develop the next generation of international players, especially for Wales who have no programme of matches at all outside the Six Nations.

Perhaps they want to concentrate on preparations for the Women's Sevens World Cup qualifiers, which would be reasonable if it were not for the fact that, frankly, neither stands much chance of qualifying. In the meanwhile Scotland, at least, desperately need to improve their performances at XVs otherwise they will be watching the 2014 World Cup from the sidelines.

Nothing but praise should go to RFUW in taking the initiative to propose and organise the event - a shame that the other home nations are unable to be so far sighted.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

London Women's Sevens?

Another event that there has been no official publicity for, but which seems to have sneaked into the calendars of at least two national teams, is a London International Women's Sevens - apparently to be played on the weekend of the 12th-13th May.

At first glance some of us thought that this was a misunderstanding and that maybe they meant the Amsterdam Sevens - but that is now the following week.

All that is known is that both Canada and France are definitely intending to take part - so its not just some hyped-up club event. With the World's Number One coming it's going to be pretty serious.

Its probable that England will be there too (though you can never be sure about such things) and you'd also assume that the likes of Wales and Scotland would also want to take an opportunity to warm up before their World Cup qualifier in June (but again, who knows?). Sweden have also used UK sevens to get ready for European tournaments in the past, so their participation would not be unexpected.

But at this stage who can say. Secrecy remains. Hopefully we will all be told more some time before 12th May.

U20 Four-Nations Championship

There does not seem to have been any announcement about this, but buried away on the French RFU's website is this:

11/03/2012 : France – Angleterre à Paris (A confirmer)
02-08/04/12 : Festival des 4 nations (en Angleterre)
So there will be a week-long U20 tournament involving England, France plus (presumably) Wales and Scotland in April... somewhere in England (though very probably inside, or very near to, the M25)

This would be first ever women's European age-group tournament, and also the first time England have ever hosted any women's European rugby Championship (which is what, in effect, it is) of any sort.

Hopefully more information will emerge soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

RFUW respond on Italian ground switch

RFUW have responded to the post below, which highlighted complaints being circulated in Italy about England's demand that the upcoming Six Nations game be moved from its original venue at Udine:

"The RFUW had no problem with the game being held in Udine – the problem was actually getting flights to that area of Italy and we made this very clear to the Italian union when we requested the change of venue.

Our travel agent company worked hard to secure flights to Venice but due to the Venice Festival, which is the same weekend, it was impossible. Our travel agent has also looked at flights to Verona, Bologna, Milan, Salzburg, Zagreb with no success due to it being half term, the ski season and Saturday being a change over day. The only flights available going out to Venice was on Thursday 9 th February but we were unable to leave that early due to our players being ‘amateur’ and their work commitments. We just can’t take them out of work three days earlier than the actual test match. Our policy to minimise disruption to players working lives is generally to leave the day before a test match and depart the next day, meaning our players are only away for three days.

You’re right there is a rule about venues being no more than 50 miles from an international airport – Venice is 95 miles away – this is actually a Six Nations rule not an IRB rule, but this is not the reason we requested the change, but as I said because of the lack of availability of flights."

Monday, January 09, 2012

England demonstrate art of losing friends and alienating people

The generosity and enthusiasm of Italian rugby clubs who play host to women's internationals is fast becoming legendary. Ireland's trip to Rovigo last year was typical - the Irish team being given the complete red card treatment throughout their visit, with a big enthusiastic crowd making the game a huge and memorable occasion.

This year is is England's turn to visit Italy, and the citizens of Udine in Venice region were over the moon to be given the chance to host the game. All sorts of preparations were being put in place to welcome the English team.


Because England are not coming. You see, Udine is 90km, or about 57 miles (as the crow flies) from Venice airport. And England have pointed out an IRB rule that internationals cannot take place more than 50 miles from an airport.

If you have not heard of this rule then this will be no surprise because, as an Italian RFU spokesman put it, this is "a clause that is almost never required." However "England team was adamant and demanded the move". As a result the game will now take place at Parabiago, near Milan - about 30km from the airport.

To compensate the rugby fans of Udine, the Italian RFU will now move a men's U20 game to the ground, along with games against French or Welsh women's teams next year. Apparently they are okay to travel the extra 7 miles or so.

No doubt England's management will claim that this has saved their players being crammed in a coach for an unnecessary period. However, the total journey time to Udine down the fast, modern Autostrada would have been just over an hour. Instead they will now have to drive across the middle of Milan -journey time (if the roads are clear) at least 50 minutes. I really hope those extra 10-20 minutes saved - if any time is saved (this is Milan after all!) - are worth the upset caused.

It is sometimes said that the law is an ass, but occasionally this metaphor applies to those who insist on its application.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Okay, this one is a bit weird...

... a (US) comic novel that seems to be centred around girls' rugby.


A new page is published every two or three days, but the action starts in the middle of a girls' rugby match. Moreover an inter-school rugby match.

The hero seems to be a wing, and how much of the story will concern rugby is anyone's guess as this seems to be a "prequel" to a series of comic novels about female wrestlers...

Anyway, for the time enjoy!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 - a year of women's rugby anniversaries

Women's international rugby celebrates several important milestones in 2012. Well, maybe "celebrate" is a bit strong as chances are that several will go by unnoticed.

So - in an attempt to give at least some recognition to a game that has a great past as well as a promising future here are some dates that might deserve be recognised by someone. Somewhere. Especially the ones underlined!

30 years ago...
13th June - First ever women's rugby international (Netherlands v France, in Utrecht)

25 years ago...
Canada's women's rugby board formed
5th April - England and Wales' first test match (again each other, in Pontypool)
14th November - Canada and USA's first test match (against each other, in Victoria, BC)

21 years ago...
4th April - First World Cup (Wales)

20 years ago...
Irish women's rugby union formed
New Zealand women join the NZRU

15 years ago...
First women's international sevens (Hong Kong)

10 years ago...
11th May - Largest women's rugby world cup (Barcelona). 

5 years ago...
Wales women join the WRFU
Women's Six Nations recognised by Six Nations Committee (Italy replaces Spain)

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