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...

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 Because, as things stand, Otago may not have a team as all funding has been withdrawn from the women's team.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.

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