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...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Massive rise in women player numbers in England... but don't tell anyone...

Questioning RFU and RFUW's player statistics has been a continuing theme of this blog for some years. The way in which Twickenham appeared to be wildly under-estimating the number of women and girls playing rugby was first pointed out in 2009, and a post last autumn pointed out how laughably inflated the number of boys playing the game seemed to be.

All of these numbers were culled from the IRB website, and a few months ago - some weeks after the second article appeared, in fact - all of England's data mysteriously disappeared.

Well now its back... and its changed. Wow has it changed!

Up until recently (like when I last looked in detail, which was about 2009) the data said that there were around 180,000 men playing rugby in England, and a mere 6,000 women. Or about 3% of the total. Well, now RFU are claiming there are 131,000 men... and 25,000 women.

That means that 16% of adult rugby players in England are women - one in SIX. It also represents an apparent leap in player numbers of 400% in about three years, which you think might be worth celebrating? On the other hand, in reality, what it does show is that all of the RFU's data published up until now - you know, the data they used to win grants from the government etc. - was probably complete tripe and it may be that they do not want anyone to know this.

Is this data likely to be any more accurate? Well, yes - it probably is as it is a much better match for Sport England's 2009 estimate of 17,500 women players than the old 6,000 figure was. Note that France have recorded a 17% rise in their player numbers in the past 12 months alone, so a rise from 17,500 to nearly 25,000 in three years is not impossible.

The corresponding drop in male players also suggests that the theory put forward on here - that, due to defaults on the Rugby First database many female players were being registered as male - may have been correct.

What is even more amazing, though, are the junior numbers. Pre-teen players are up from 2,787 in 2009 to 408,072. No - you have not misread that, that really is a 10,000% increase. Teenage player numbers are up from 3,794 to 129,121 - a paltry 3,000% rise.

Now, RFUW can claim all they like about the success of the U13 scheme, but it ain't that good. I would instead suggest that  the data they used to justify the panicked and damaging introduction of this game was total rubbish. Maybe an apology to every club in the land is in order?

You can see all the new numbers here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Total Pageviews (since June 2009)

Sport Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory