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, April 28, 2012


For the first time the Herts 7s has had to be cancelled, due to waterlogged pitches at Tring. A great pity as it looked like being another great success with teams from all over the south of England taking part, and at least one England player on hand to give out prizes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

U13s: Important RFUW announcement

Two major announcements concerning the U13 band were made today:
U13 Dispensation will continue for the 2012/13 season All players must be 12 years of age as of midnight on the 31st August 2012 and of played club rugby during the 2011/12 season under the RFU continuum, only players that have been registered on Rugby First before the season closed on the 12th May 2012 will be approved to play U15 Girls rugby. Applications will be made through a new enhanced application form and this form will be available on line.  Any club applying for dispensation must prove over the coming season that they  endeavour to set up playing pathways for any future U13 girls. 
While the only logical decision I confess to being slightly surprised, but clubs now have about two weeks to ensure that any girls with a smattering of interest in the game are registered before the deadline as at least they will get a choice about what game they play, though realistically this is either playing U15s or playing practically no rugby at all.

And even better, of course, it means that girls with years of mini experience (ie. the ones that will go on to play for England) will not be forced to return to the rugby kindergarten.

Slightly worrying that this will continue to be reviewed each year - difficult to see what the down side is for anyone.
Introducing the U11 age band to the U13s making the age band open to all girls aged 10, 11, and 12 years of age at midnight on the 31st August 2012.Any girls playing rugby in the RFUs U11 age band have the opportunity to join an U13 girl’s side if they wish or they \can continue to play rugby under the RFU continuum. 
The rational[sic] for introducing this option is to try and stop the drop out at the U11 age group as research shows this is taking place due to the introduction of playing contact with the boys. 
Two matters of note here. Well, three. The first is the very sensible decision to expand the U13 band to a three year band - why not go the whole hog and make it a three year U12 band with no overlap with U15s, I am tempted to ask, but you cannot have everything.

Secondly - note that the RFUW seem to now be adopting the RFU definition of a person's age, not the old ambiguous "11 on 1st September" that has caused so much fun and confusion over the years. Hopefully the same will now apply to the definition of U15 and U18?

Finally - the alleged drop out from minis due to the introduction of contact. Sorry - what research? And is the problem really contact, or boys? I strongly suspect it is the latter, and not the former, being as boys of around this age do often show signs of regression into Neaderthalism which most sensible girls would want nothing to do with. But just because girls get fed up playing contact rugby with boys who are incapable of basic communication or understanding words like "pass" does not mean that they dislike playing contact. Well, that always seemed to be the case with the ones I spoke to.

Oh - and could someone at RFUW get a dictionary out and look up the words "rational" and "rationale"? Just a suggestion.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Claire", I am unworthy....

There are times when this blog has attempted to make the odd complaint about this and that, has expressed a degree of disappointment about certain policies or decisions, and generally tried to make a point. And such articles have attracted some comment - even notoriety. Which is gratifying.

But today I came across something that makes anything I have done on here seem positively amateurish.

I refer to this article - an open letter to "Irish Tag" about their childishly awful promotional campaign - which is simply brilliant. I am now in awe of "Claire" - true genius. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

All Black fronts up in bid to save Otago

The stories about the bid to save the Otago women's provincial team (see earlier article) continue apace, with new information coming out almost daily (you'd think the sheer level of publicity would result in a reassessment from those involved, if only due to embarrassment - but not, it seems).

The latest news is the involvement of All Black Adam Thomson who has made it his "personal mission to help the region and the game that has given me so much by giving the Otago women an opportunity to play." In pursuit of this he has auctioned off a 2011 RWC ball signed by the All Blacks (that raised $NZ3,240 on its own!) and Highlanders polo shirt and shorts (bids around $NZ200 each at the moment).

No announcement has been made about how far the total is from its $NZ20,000 goal - but it must be well on its way.

Save Otago Women's Rugby Facebook page
Main fundraising website
Latest: American rugby player writes about her views of NZ women's rugby, and the Otago situation

Friday, April 20, 2012

Junior Leagues - full speed for the iceberg!

Details about next season's RFUW junior leagues have been revealed, along with next season's junior calendar, in a mailing to all junior clubs. The letters detail that the planned U15 Leagues will be as last year - ie. games for between 7 and 10-a-side [odd, I thought U15 rugby was a 13-a-side game?], however the U18 Leagues could be significantly different.

While - again - games will be for 10 to 15 a-side, clubs will not be able to enter the U18 league unless they have at least 18 registered players - and there will be separate leagues for "developed" and "developing" clubs. Alternatively (presumably if there are insufficient entrants in an area) there will be a "Challenge Series" of four festivals, with "friendlies" covering the rest of the season.

The state of the leagues was discussed last month, and given the decline in both competing clubs and completed games at U15 level "carry on regardless" does seem, at best, odd - especially when compared with what is proposed at U18 level. A similar system of festivals - what sounds a bit like the old "SW League" - would actually make far more sense at U15 level.

From information I have seen about the state of U15 rugby, after one year of the U13 scheme, there is little doubt that entries for the leagues will be even lower this year. Across East Anglia and Middlesex it is likely that there are probably three - at most four - entrants (and one of those will be a cluster) a truly appalling state of affairs when you consider how many U15 teams the region had before the RFUW began its leagues. And no - the decline is not a co-incidence. Not even slightly.

With so few entrants any club entering a U15 league is therefore likely to be faced with ludicrously long journeys to fulfil their fixtures - thus guaranteeing that many games will not take place, and so the spiral of decline will continue. Its crazy - why not just gather all the clubs together in one place for a 7s or 10s festival like, well, we used to do?

The decline of U15 rugby has clearly been accelerated in this area by U13 rugby, as this has ensured that clubs have even fewer players. There is little doubt that for club rugby in Hertfordshire the U13 scheme in  has not been a disaster but a complete catastrophe. Across the county surveys indicate that there are fewer than 20 U13s who have joined a club, and only one club would be remotely capable of fielding a team.... which means that that club has no one to play! Obviously the U13s could be all brought together at county level to form a county team (like we used to do with the U12s)... if the RFUW had not forbidden inter-county U13 rugby!

Will this madness never end? Well, clearly not as the Junior Calendar (see below) now has a whole host of dates set aside for inter-club U13 rugby! ROFL! It is a level of self-delusion that is mind-blowing.

Compared to this insanity and hole digging, the proposals for U18 leagues are actually remarkably imaginative. The  festival idea is an interesting proposal which would - in effect - return the running of U18 rugby to the counties and regions with a game based around friendlies and festivals. This will happen if insufficient clubs enter the main league in any area - a distinct possibility because of the minimum number of players needed to enter. I mean, even at the peak if the junior game, about 4-5 years ago, how many clubs were there that had 18 or more players at U18 level? Half a dozen, at best, nationwide?

The one snag, however, is that this requirement may well encourage the more ambitious coaches and pushy parents to drive to set up Super Clubs of the sort we saw in the discredited and unlamented National Cup, which would be a disaster for everyone else for reasons discussed too often on here.

So - what we could we look forward to next season? Potentially it is a disaster of Titanic proportions:
  • Girls who have been playing mini rugby moving into U13s and giving up on the game either because they find that there is no rugby for them to play, or if there is its a weird form of the game that they thought they had left before at U9s;
  • A tiny sprinkling of U13 girls joining a club having started playing at school, but giving up for much the same reasons as above;
  • The odd club forming a U13 team... but finding there is no-one for them to play within at least 50 miles or more;
  • U15 leagues, but with fewer clubs than last year, resulting in teams having to travel insane distances across country to play maybe one game of 7s;
  • A small number of U18 super clubs cherry-picking the best players and playing in a national league.
Of course it may not all be like that. There are some potential lifeboats. U18 coaches may have the sense to consider all their players, and the game as a whole, ahead of the gleam of silverware and go for the festival model. And in Hertfordshire at least the county's internal U15 and U18 leagues and cluster events will continue - a fine example of what can be achieved if you ignore RFUW edicts and carry in regardless. Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the country could do the same?

Finally - the Youth Calendar for next season....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You won't be able to miss them

This is probably one of the few positives that can be said for the new Sevens kit that England have launched. Well, that and its better than the old one where, for some reason, it seemed we were trying to disguise ourselves as the Netherlands.

In addition, if the floodlights ever fail on a night game England will be able to play on and (I'm really struggling for positives now) its not as bad as Australia's "vomit green" affair.

And its really good to see Michaela Staniford involved in the launch - and wearing what I assume it the "first choice" shirt too.

But... what on earth is wrong with white? Why do you have to have different Sevens shirts - its not exactly likely that the sevens and fifteens teams will have to play each other.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

World's easiest world record gets broken - again

Back in October I highlighted the record of "World's largest scrum" which had just been broken for the third time in less than a year, going from 68 to 361.

Well, Thurrock RFC have just set a new record - 571, including at least one proper forward, one Maggie Alphonsi.

As you see - front row aside - it remains not exactly a taxing record to break, all you need are enough people who are capable of bending down and leaning on those in front of them.

Perhaps some may think I am being needlessly critical, after it must have taken some organisation and no doubt  it raised lots of money for charity. But come one - four minute mile this isn't! Personally I think that (at the very least) the record should only count if the scrum is contested - and even then not until the ball has been thrown in by the scrum-half and properly heeled, though how on earth they could throw it into the middle of the front rows I do not know.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

U20: England v France video

The French U20 are clear chuffed about the result of their series against England, and two videos including their preparations and highlights has just appeared. Those involved in the recent discussion about the games may like a look.
Match 1: Match highlights begin around 2:30

France -20 féminines : le défi anglais I by FFR
Match 2: Match highlights begin at around 2:50.

France – 20 féminines : Le défi anglais II by FFR

Legend stars in rugby promo video

There is a familiar face in the latest (very, very good, by the way) promotional video for girls' rugby - take a look at around 1:24.... (and 3:00 as well!)

(The really odd thing about this, frankly, brilliant video is that it was made over a year ago... but hardly anyone has watched it (barely 500 views in the first six months - the Letchworth Girls video did better than that!). Its been hidden away. Why? It is the emphasis on clubs as the way into the game, maybe? Strange...

U13 rugby: Wales tackle their retention problem, and learn from RFUW mistakes

News from Wales where the WRU has proposed changes to their age banding, almost exactly a year after the RFUW introduced the controversial U13 band in England.

Details are a bit thin, but it is clear that the Welsh are taking a different route to England, and with different aims.
  • There appears to be no suggestion about a new, untried, set of rules being introduced
  • The aim of the change is primarily to retain girls currently playing mixed mini/midi rugby - the introduction of new players will be easier, it is hoped, but this is clearly secondary. 
  • The WRU changes will work through a system of "local development centres" in each "population centre" - which will be hosted at a club, based on its facilities and location. Not schools.
As such the scheme is in marked contrast to that of the RFUW - indeed it might even be suggested that the Welsh have been watching from over the border and learning a few very important lessons.

It is fascinating that the aim is retention, for example. As pointed out on here repeatedly a glance at the England team will show you that almost every player in that team started playing with the minis - very few girls who starting playing in their teens (never mind university) now go on to play the game at the highest level. Wales have recognised that we should be treating mini-rugby girls like precious jewels, making sure they are not lost, and as a result have come up with a plan that is the complete reverse of RFUW's policy which is entirely focused on finding new players and (especially if last season's dispensations are removed) pays no heed at all to retention whatsoever - indeed makes the problem worse.

Even more impressive is the "local development centre" concept, which - if it can overcome inter-club rivalries - will be a huge boost. Details of all the Centres are listed on the WRU site, where many have the support of international players (my only observation is that all seem to be in South Wales). If you can bring all of an area's mini/midi girls - with several years of rugby experience already behind them - together at the age of 11 or 12, what an amazing team you will have by U15 or U18. And also what a positive atmosphere for new girls to join.

So best wishes to Wales - I think we will all be watching how your system develops with great interest.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Zealand: Men's rugby messes up, women's rugby pays the price

Interesting news from the home of the four-times World Champions, where some (male) administrators seem to be trying very hard to ensure that they cannot make it five...

Otago is one of the main homes of rugby in New Zealand, both men and women. Some of the greats of women's rugby - players like Melodie Robinson, Farah Palmer and Carla Hohepa - are from the province, but for players of the future it may be more difficult. Because, as things stand, Otago may not have a team as all funding has been withdrawn from the women's team.

What on earth have they done to deserve this, you may ask? Wrecked some bars? Got drunk on a plane? Smashed up a stadium changing room? No - must be worse than that surely - after all, men's teams do these and don't get shut down.

Truth be told that the women have done nothing, other than play rugby very well and be a credit to the province. In fact its the men who have messed up - and the logic of New Zealand rugby seems to be that it is the women who must pay.

Otago run a professional provincial team. Well, "run" may be pushing it a bit as this would seem to imply a degree of competence. Essentially, in a nutshell, Otago have been fielding a group of overpaid, poorly managed, and underperforming players for some time now. The crowds have noticed this and have deserted the team. And the practical result of all this is that the province is in deep financial trouble.

In order to save money the some teams have been merged - for example - the men's B and Colts teams are now a single development squad. This has reduced playing opportunities for the province's male players, but - while unfortunate - it is rather different for the women. Their opportunities to play have been removed altogether.

Attempts are being made by Farrah Palmer to raise funds for a women's team independently of the Province, and hopefully they will succeed. But it does seem stupidly unfair that the group that suffers most in this farce is the one that was least to blame for it.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Support-a-legend - Sasha's charity cycle ride

Sasha says....

"Rigggghhht friends!!! :):) So, in a nutshell, I am doing an insane bike ride for Macmillan Cancer Relief...its 1748miles...and it's basically got to be done in under a month. Its just myself and Poppy doing it...good cause...crazy can be done!! 

We've figured out we need to cycle at least around 80miles a day to reach our ideal optimum finish date, which is one hell of a trek every day, but totally worth it!! 

We shall be starting this awesome adventure on the 26th of June, and really want to finish by the 20th July. It's not a random route either...we're cycling from Lands End (bottom of Cornwall), to John O'Groats (top of Scotland) AND BACK, completely back to back!! 

So please can you all dig deep; attached to is our just giving page, and any donations automatically go straight to Macmillan, we have nothing to do with it at all in that respect. Please give as little or as much as you'd like, it all helps and makes every muscle and bum ache well worth it!! 

Spread the word too please :)"

Sunday, April 08, 2012

France win U20 series 3-0

The excuses for the England U20 performances seem to be getting a bit thin. The 50-0 defeat in Paris was due to all the major players being unavailable, last Wednesday's 11-5 loss did not really count as both teams were playing their younger players - it was, in effect, a "A" international. Just you wait for Saturday.

But yesterday England lost again, 13-3.

There again it is difficult to know what the real strategy for the U20 team is this year. Although England called up some big guns with full caps to their name, they were not used in the actual games.Coach Amanda Bennett seems to have decided to keep with her core players, perhaps putting learning and development ahead of short-term success? If so, this would be to her credit as in the end age group rugby is about learning.

Of course, there may be other reasons for such a dramatic turn-round for a team that was literally world-beating 12 months ago (though with some differences in playing staff, obviously).

Clearly there is more to this than meets the eye, especially a distant eye with only access to match reports and a few bits of film. And the result has been a England team losing three consecutive matches - which has never happened before. How RFUW will react to that will be interesting to see.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

25 years of Test Rugby: England celebrate, but its very quiet in Wales

Today is the 25th anniversary of the first women's test rugby for England and Wales' who met on this day back in 1987 ay Pontypridd. RFUW recognised this today with a press release, and the Rugby Museum at Twickenham will also be running a special exhibition. The WRU, on the other hand, seem to be letting the occasion pass by. 

RFUW's press release says:
"25 years ago to the day England Women played their very first international rugby match. On a spring day at Pontypool RFC in Wales, England’s first ever 22 female rugby players ran out against a Welsh team who were also enjoying their first ever taste of international rugby. Only a handful of spectators were there to witness this significant day in the history of the women’s game, but for England their first tentative footsteps into the international arena ended in success with a 22-4 victory.
The stars of that victory included names such as Nicola Ponsford, MBE, who is the current Acting Managing Director of the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) and England Women’s Head of Performance, as well as Carol Isherwood, OBE, who is a RFUW Board Member and also holds a seat on the International Rugby Board (IRB) Committee. 
“My abiding memory of that first ever international match was that it was an amazing experience but one where we were finding our feet,” said Ponsford, who started at hooker in that match. “We stayed in a youth hostel, and our match preparation included taking our walk and stretch on the swings in the park! 
“The game itself was all a bit of a blur. It was much faster than we had played before. There was a lot of mauling and I seemed to be stuck in the middle of all of them. There were a few people watching, but mainly family and friends and a few interested spectators who seemed baffled that women were actually playing rugby. We also played in big, baggy white cotton shirts that we had to pay for.” 
Since then England and the Women’s Game has come a long way. England have played 186 international test matches, including playing Wales 29 times and losing just one match against them in that 25 year period. That phenomenal record has continued for England who have since gone on to win 165 matches, draw two, and lose just 23 games. England have also won the Six Nations a record breaking eight times, including seven Grand Slams, since the tournament first began in 2003. Despite England’s impressive record they have surprisingly only won the Women’s Rugby World Cup once and that was in 1994, although England have come close on four occasions, making the final in 1991, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Ponsford, who went on to win 50 caps for England, was part of that historic 1994 winning side. England took the title by beating the USA 38-23 in the final in Edinburgh. 
“Since being involved in the first ever game there have been many highlights but certainly winning the Rugby World Cup in 1994 ranks as one of my best memories, alongside helping to organise the first Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991 and England hosting the 2010 Rugby World Cup which proved to be the most successful Women’s Rugby World Cup ever.” 
The 2010 Rugby World Cup, hosted by the RFU, in London was certainly a landmark tournament for Women’s Rugby globally. The tournament broke new ground with record breaking broadcasting and media exposure, whilst pool matches were sold out and the final, at the Twickenham Stoop, witnessed the biggest ever crowd at a women’s XVs match of over 13,000 people. 
Since then it has been non-stop for England and the RFUW and the RFU who are at the forefront of growing and developing the Women’s Game. England now regularly play their home games on the hallow turf of Twickenham Stadium, whilst live television coverage is becoming a regular occurrence.
And the enthusiasm is growing at the grass roots level of the game too with currently 13,645 women and girls playing rugby in England –that’s an increase of 87 percent since records began in 2004/05. Worldwide, Women's Rugby is one of the fastest-growing forms of the Game with over 200,000 registered women actively competing in XVs and Sevens and 800,000 women and girls participating in leisure rugby in all its forms.
With Rugby Sevens also now on the Olympic agenda, which the game making its debut in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, the game is set to reach new heights. This season has seen the introduction of the IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup with the worlds’ best Sevens teams competing over three tournaments, in Dubai, Hong Kong and London, alongside the men’s HSBC World Sevens Series, whilst next season the IRB are looking to introduce a new Women’s World Sevens Series. 
Ponsford added: “The game has developed so much since I first became involved and it has developed only for the better. I was the first ever paid employee but now we have a wonderful, extremely talented team at Twickenham with massive support from the RFU, as well as the likes of Sport England, the English Institute of Sport and our various sponsors. Club level, there is now over 300 teams playing rugby in England and we hope that one day soon girls’ rugby will become a first choice sport in schools across the country. 
“At the top level we have around 400 players in the England system. Although we have not won a world cup in 18 years I am confident that soon our time will come. We are also experiencing exciting times in Sevens Rugby too and I hope that in 2016 both the men and women’s Great Britain teams will be in fighting contention to win two gold medals.” 
In recognition of this historic day the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium is hosting a special exhibition entitled England Women’s Rugby – A Continuing Success. The new display shows a range of objects that highlight the increasing success of both English and international Women’s Rugby. The display is located at the entrance to the museum exhibition area, and will run until July 2012."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

England U20s lose again

England U20s lost 11-5 today against France, their second defeat running - the first time that any England age group team has lost consecutive tests.

It was a far closer game than in Paris, needless to say - one try each, with the difference being France's Audrey Abadie's first half penalty and drop goal (talented young lady - clearly not going to be slumming it in Federale 1 for much longer!). England's first half try from Bucks Jester Lauren Cattell was unconverted, giving France a 6-5 half-time lead. St Oren's Margaux Deyland extended France's lead with an unconverted try in the second half.

Admittedly neither England nor France were not at full strength - both England captain and vice-captain were missing. Those in the know say that the game was close to a "B" international with the younger players having a chance to prove themselves. The real game is on Saturday, apparently. Cannot help thinking that this will not stop the French celebrating.

Official RFUW match report:

England Women Under 20s bounced back from the tough lessons they learned in Paris last month, when their French counter parts inflicted a 50-0 defeat, with a much improved performance against France at Moulton College today (Wednesday).
Although England lost 11-5 the hosts raised their game on home turf and will now look forward to their next clash against France on Saturday April 7th, at Moulton College, kick off 1pm.
In rain-soaked and blustery conditions both sides managed to touch down for a try with fly-half Lauren Cattell (Chesham RFC) England’s scorer and flanker Margaux Deylaud for France. But in the end it was the boot of France No. 10 Audrey Abadie that proved decisive as she kicked a drop goal and a penalty.
In the opening stages of the game both England and France battled against the elements to try and put some points on the board but the weather proved restrictive for both sides. England worked hard at the breakdown and showed a real improvement in their physicality whilst their line speed throughout their backs was much improved, but in the end errors for both sides led to missed opportunities and only a drop goal from Abadie on 22 minutes separated the two sides.
England were then penalised for being offside in the breakdown in their 22 and France, with the wind in their favour, made the most of their opportunity and converted the points to take a 6-0 on 32 minutes.
The battle, however, between the two sides remained at a high tempo and England continued to put pressure on France and in the end some good work by Plymouth Albion lock Courtney Gill saw her charge down a clearance kick from Abadie. The ball ricochet into the air and Cattell gathered to then dive over the try-line and score. Cattell, kicking into the wind, wasn’t however able to make the conversion with her kick falling just short, and leaving the score at 6-5 at half-time.
The second half continued in much the same way, with both sides eager to assert their dominance. With England conceding an early penalty, France kicked to touch and then executed a strong line-out, catch and drive which saw flanker Deylaud take the clean ball and muscle her way over the line to score an important try. With France now kicking into the wind Abadie was also unable to make the conversion, with the elements taking their toll.  
Going into the final quarter France looked to have the edge in terms of possession and territory but England’s physicality and intensity kept the tourists at bay, leaving them without any further scoring opportunities and keeping the score to 11-5 at full-time.
England Assistant Coach Steve Halsey said: “This is a bitter, sweet defeat really. Although we are disappointed to have lost the game the players showed real improvement in the areas we have worked hard on – our physicality and our intensity – and that meant we were able to dominate areas of the game rather than be dominated and reactive as we were in France last month. We could still have improved on our execution, although the weather also did play a part there, but with another game coming up against France in a couple of days’ time we will have the opportunity to make those improvements and hopefully this time come away with a win. This is a young group of players, who have already made a big step-up this season, and I am confident that if we carry on making these improvements then we will have a very competitive and experienced squad next season.”

Twickenham triumph for Legend

Congrats to Sasha Acheson, who was part of the UWI Cardiff team that lifted the British University rugby title at Twickenham last weekend.

Unusually modest, and hiding under the name "Alexandra", Sasha set up the second Cardiff try on their way to a 30-5 win over Leeds Met.

Sounds like a typical Sasha run too - to quote the South Wales Echo
"Tight-head Alexandra Acheson broke from outside the Leeds 22, shook off three tackles and offloaded to Owens who powered over."
Well done to Sasha - and her team-mates.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

England U20s play France tomorrow (and Scotland U20s are playing as well... but don't want to tell anyone!)

Back in January it slipped out that a proposed four-nation U20 tournament, to be played this week, had to be cancelled when Scotland and Wales pulled out. It seemed that, to save money, neither nation was running an U20 team this year. Certainly you will find no mention of women's U20 squads or fixtures on either website.

But Scotland, at least, DO have an U20 team - and they will be playing this week. And in England as well- but not at Moulton College, where England and France will play a two "test" series in place of the four-nation competition. Instead of facing England, France (and maybe Wales) Scotland will, instead, be playing the Hartpury College XV in a game that is almost a secret - no mention on either the SRU or Hartpury websites (though there may be nothing odd about this, in all honesty - the SRU are not that good at publishing information about the activities of their women's teams).

Meanwhile England U20s will attempt to put behind them the 50-0 humiliation they suffered in Paris last month - and they mean business. Pretty much all of their best U20s have been called up for this - even those, such as Hannah Gallagher, who have been playing with the elite team in the Six Nations. So whatever the result will be tomorrow, it won't be 50-0. Not to France anyway...

No rugby at Herts Youth Games

The good news is that - despite the cuts in government funding, and North Herts threat towithdraw all expenditure from it, Herts Youth Games will take place this year, and North Herts will have a team.

The bad news is that rugby will not be included in this year's Herts Youth Games for - I think - the first time in... well, since before the Letchworth Girls team was formed, so that would be "ever". Coming at a time when the RFUW is pushing the new U13 game as being a simple game ideal for schools its a decision that can only be described as a shade odd as you would think this would be a great chance to showcase this marvel. Oh well...

For anyone who has not taken part in HYG, and is aged under about 14 (or 19 if you play bowls...) there are still 11 other sports, and trials in many of them will be taking place in the next few weeks. If you get the chance to take part, don't miss it. More details at

  • There is a certain mad irony that the sport chosen to illustrate the HYG 2012 website is tag rugby! (
  • The sports replacing rugby seem to be bowls and cheerleading. I think this development defies comments except... cheerleading???? Cheerleading???? What next - ballroom dancing??

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