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...

Friday, February 10, 2012

IRB plan for the next five years

The IRB plan for women's rugby has finally been published, some months after the IRB first announced it, but its still worth a look.

The report claims that women's rugby is now played by 200,000 players in 110 countries - in both cases probably a bit of an underestimate, but rather more accurate than most IRB data on the subject in recent years. The report highlights how much interest and enthusiasm for the game has increased in recent years - but that there are still perception problems that get in the way of the game's expansion. One problem is that women's rugby tends to be seen as a financial burden by many in the game - even though research shows that, in fact, women's sport is a major missed commercial opportunity.

Interestingly (because this blog has been banging on about it for years) the report also specifically looks at U12 girls' rugby, and whether there should be more girls-only rugby at that age (rather than forcing girls to play mixed rugby).

It is no surprise to see that over the next five years- which takes us up to 2016 - the IRB's main thrust will be sevens, developing elite women's programmes in all Unions, with the aim of increasing player numbers. In fact there are some really ambitious targets for 2016...

  • 400,000 players
  • Women's rugby in every Union, with women's rugby represented on all Unions, regional bodies, and the IRB
  • An official XVs calendar from 2012
  • Women's sevens World Series by 2013
  • Age grade regional (ie. continental) sevens tournaments
  • Women's sevens at the Youth Olympics in 2014
  • Women's rugby to be a "commercially viable product" by 2014, with increased TV coverage
Which is all pretty impressive. Quite what would happen in a Union failed to develop the women's game - or actively refused to support the game (as with Iran) isn't covered - one would hope that there would  ultimately be some sanctions.

On the subject of the world sevens series, there is more information than we have had before.For example, there will be at least four tournaments per year, with 12 teams at each event - again as this blog suspected. The top 12 teams at the 2013 World Cup will make up the compete in the following season - but after that there will be promotion and relegation.

Half of the teams for the Olympics will be the various 2015 regional champions - but the other six teams will be selected via a worldwide qualification process, so in theory there might be only one European team in Rio... or there might be as many as seven!

There is also a commitment to more test matches and XVs tournaments - and a competition model is included. Interestingly this includes an annual Asian XVs - even though this rarely happens - but does NOT include the Caribbean XVs, despite this being a firmly established annual event.

Finally, from the end of this year, it is intended that there will be official rankings for teams both at sevens and fifteens... which should be interesting.

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