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, March 07, 2009

Disappointment as England make do with Plate

The long road to the World Cup came to an end for England in seven minutes against Australia in Dubai this morning. The clash of the top two seeds in the quarter-finals was a game neither side wanted - and it was England who looked good after the first period. Despite the loss of Jo Yapp due to injury, the number one seeds were 10-5 with tries from Claire Allen and Sue Day. But it all went wrong in the second half, with Nicole Beck (remember her?) and Rebecca Tavo scoring unanswered second half tries to put Australia through to the semi-finals 17-10.

It was a shattering blow for an England team that has travelled the world in the past 18 months, and remained unbeaten against all-comers for over a year. For an experienced squad this was not their first taste of world cup disappointment, and for some it may have been their last chance to lift a world title. 

Still, the recovered sufficiently to beat Spain in the Plate Semi-final an hour or so later - though Spain had lead 7-5 at half-time - and then beat Canada in the final 12-0. So the girls will bring a trophy home... just the wrong one (listen to coach Simon Amor after the Plate Final). The one crumb of comfort for England is that they did lose to the eventual winners - Australia squeezing past New Zealand 15-10 in overtime - a repeat of the Pacific qualifier final.

The other semi-finalists were South Africa - a nation to watch for in women's rugby over the next few years - and the USA, recovering from their pool defeat to England to get within two points of a place in the final, losing only 12-10 to New Zealand. The final piece of silverware went to China, winning the Bowl 10-7 over Brazil. Full results here.

So a great success - but where now? No sevens tour for the women - in almost all cases they will now return to their respective continents and will probably not venture beyond the odd game against near neighbours for another four years. Some may be in England next year, but the unfortunate fact is that many - most - of these teams will not. With time running out (and funding lacking) its difficult to see how the likes of Brazil, for example, or Uganda, will even be able to compete for a place.

But for most teams sevens is rugby. A way needs to be found to allow them to play more. What Dubai has shown is that women's and men's rugby tournaments can be played side by side - you do not have to banish the women's games to the training pitches (as in Scotland last year, or San Diego this) - the crowd will stay and watch and cheer (even if the commentators don't). Women's sevens can be as much of a spectacle as men's. Let's hope we do not have to wait another four years before we see this demonstrated again.
  • More news, match reports, interviews, and photographs from today will appear on the IRB site during this evening

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, having the ladies tournaments played alongside was a great thing. Long may it continue, and long may the IRB remember that both sexes play the game!!


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