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...

Sunday, May 06, 2012

And you thought the season was over...

The weekend actually sees the start of a pretty hectic time in the world of women's rugby. The qualification process for (slightly confusingly) two different world cup kicks up a gear, with international players jetting from tournament to tournament in a madly compressed but - from the sidelines - rather fascinating few weeks.

To start with the 15-a-side World Cup may be over two years away, but the hopes of at least two nation's players - Russia and Finland - are already over as they lost on Thursday to Sweden and Netherlands. These two should have been playing today in a sudden death play-off for a place in the final European Qualifier next year, had not FIRA and the IRB changed the rules on Thursday morning. So instead they will simply be playing for an attractive piece of glassware (see above) and the European Championship "B" title.

Should actually be a very interesting game as, with most of the leading Dutch players playing sevens, the teams are exceedingly well match - the slight Dutch advantaged balanced out by Swedish home advantage.

Today also sees the climax of the French club championship - or at least the league section as they play well into June. I suspect that few readers here will be interested by this, but having been following it for Scrumqueens all year it has been fascinating - and rugby in the south of France certainly has its attractions.

Anyway, this weekend is just a foretaste of what is to come. Next Saturday the London Sevens kicks off with its (and the UK's) first ever proper international sevens tournament. Twelve great teams - not quite the world's best as there are a few obvious gaps (Spain are not there, for heaven's sake!), but should be amazing. England, Australia, Canada, USA, Netherlands...

Then in London, as the second day kicks off, in Italy the European 15s championship begins, with England playing Spain, and France against Italy. In many ways this should have been a classic, but all teams have put sevens first and have significantly weakened squads. England are flying out several players from London for the second and third round of games later in the week and actually should now stroll this as, even without reinforcements, they now have easily the strongest squad. Pity.

Never mind though as in the middle of the week - just down the road from the 15s championship and neatly clashing with the second round of games - Rome Sevens takes place, with a New Zealand team, Italy, and several other nations - before we get the Amsterdam Sevens, starting on the 19th - genuinely the biggest women's sevens tournament since the last world cup.

All this is all just a warm-up. Because in June 36 European countries will take part in the continent's sevens championship and world cup qualification process - a long and complex affair spread over four tournaments in four countries in three weeks.

It is going to be an exhausting six weeks of intense international competition, and - it is worth remembering that - in an almost entirely amateur sport.

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