Thursday, August 31, 2006

World Cup kicks off TODAY!

Its only hours away now.

At midnight tonight, our time, the team many of us saw lift the Six Nations title at Old Albanians in March start their World Cup campaign against the USA.

That's a heck of an opponent to draw first up - possibly the strongest opponents in the tournament other New Zealand - it'll give us the best indication yet as to how England will do. New Zealand also have a tricky opener against hosts Canada, who drew their recent two-match series with the USA.

England are also due to take on South Africa (who they beat by over 100 points in 2005) on Monday (9.30pm our time) and then France (who England beat fairly comfortably in Paris in February) in their final pool game on Friday (also midnight our time). Then its the semi-finals the 12th, and - hopefully - the final at midnight on Sunday 17th September (county trials day!).

Anyway - spare a thought to the team when you go to bed tonight. After all, in a few years' time, it could be you!

PS - Good article in The Times (who actually have a correspondent out there, ex-England cricketer Sarah Potter) and Planet Rugby have a preview as well.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

RFUW Launch U17 Talent Development Group (TDG)

With the England Women's team now in Canada for the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the RFUW is looking forward to the development of players who will represent England in the future, and has announced the introduction of a U17 Talent Development Group (TDG) which will provide selected players with a thorough individual development programme.

Following a series of "Talent Identification Days" in October , approximately thirty players will be invited to join the national "TDG"which will meet regularly throughout the year.

Players will receive:
  • Core rugby skill development
  • Game understanding
  • Strength and Conditioning education and development workshops
  • Nutritional advice
  • Sports psychology
  • Performance Lifestyle
  • Online player diaries
  • Player kit
The aim is that "TDG" will be a ‘step up’ from Regional rugby and will underpin and raise the standard of England representative squad for years to come.

Players from Hertfordshire who attended the U14 & U17 PDA’s in Guildford last summer will receive a letter inviting them to a "Talent Identification Day" ("TID") on 26th October, and county coaches will be invited to nominate ‘wild cards’ to the "TID" days. Selection and identification of players to attend the "TDG" will also be on-going throughout the season.

In February 2007, the RFUW also will be launching an U14 Talent Development Group - more information on this will be published nearer the time

A comprehensive document with further information about the programme is available via the following link

TDG Programme Presentation.pdf

A new season dawns. County trials and more...

Many will have already started training, but the new rugby season officially starts on Sunday. Seems like it ended only yesterday!

This also means that county trials are barely a fortnight away - they are earlier in the seaosn than last year, and MUCH more important because they are now your gateway to regional selection. Regional trails will be a "closed" event this year - so if you are not put forward by your county coaches you will not be able to attend!

More details about how trails will work will appear next week, but they will be at Stevenage and the plan for the U17 selection at least is that it is likely based on game play, rather than just drills, with a 10-a-side inter-club tournament under discussion.

U14 selection should be much less formal, not least because many girls will have barely statred playing the game. Simply showing the commitment to attend the trials will count heavily in your favour - so come along, regardless of your experience!

Next week should also see a major announcement which should make selection for the U17 squad even keener. No more yet - but watch this space...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Beckenham & Rochford festivals

All clubs should now have received entry forms for the Beckenham and Rochford festivals , which take place next month. Both U17 and U14 events are now planned for both dates - 8th October at Beckenham and 22nd at Rochford.

If you have not heard anything and want to enter please contact Lorraine Hooton at Beckenham and Tina Turner at Rochford.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Watch every match LIVE from the Women's Rugby World Cup

While we await any news about UK TV broadcasts (... long silence ...) , the IRB has announced that it is bringing you will be able to watch every match LIVE or replayed as live from the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup 2006 through the internet.

The tournament, which is being staged in Edmonton, Canada, begins on 31 August and climaxes with the final on 17 September. The Black Ferns of New Zealand are the defending champions but the competition is set to be stiffer than ever.

You can watch a single match LIVE for £2.50. Or you can follow ENgland through their three pool games, LIVE, for £6.50. Access to every single game is also available via a "tournament pass", covering all 30 games, costing £49.99. There are also packages for the semi finals and final.

You can also watch a replay of every match as live, for £1.50. More details at

U17 and U14 National Cup: entries now open

Entries are now being invited by RFUW for the 2007-8 U17 and U14 National Cup Competitions . This will be the first year that there has been an official U14 cup following last years pilot "Midlands Cup" event.

All affilliated clubs should have received details now from Richard Tamplin at RFUW, but in summary entries need to be in by 16th October. £90 entrance fee must be paid and £50 of this is a returnable deposit if all fixtures are met.

Round one will be on 26th November 2006 and will consist of two 16 team tournaments covering the "north" and "south" of England (however defined, but its a reasonable assumption that we'll be in the South). Entrance on a first come first served basis. Maximum Squad size 25.

4 Pools of 4 teams – The draw for the pools will be done at random. Matches to be played to U17 / U14 RFUW Age Band Rules. Top teams from each pool go through to the 2nd Round

Round two will be on 4th Feb 2007. 4 teams - round robin play each other at one venue
The winning side from the pool goes through to challenge the winner of the north section in the final on 15th April 2007.

Does your club need any money?

Funding is available now!

The Local Network Fund – a Department for Education and Skills fund administered by the Hertfordshire Community Foundation enables local voluntary groups (including sports clubs) to develop projects and activities for "young people who have limited opportunities or access to services" (a definition that particularly and unequivically includes girls' sports teams). The aim is to improve outcomes for children and young people enabling them to thrive and reach their full potential.

Grants can be made to locally managed voluntary and community groups working with young people aged under 19 years (up to 25 for those with learning disabilities).

Applications are invited under the following themes:
  • Being healthy Activities that promote a healthy lifestyle so that children and young people are able to enjoy good health, including - Sports sessions - Healthy eating classes - Peer support programmes on drug misuse
  • Staying safe Activities that contribute to children and young people being protected from harm and neglect and growing up able to look after themselves, for instance: - Anti bullying projects - Safe cycling groups - After-school clubs - Child Contact Centres
  • Enjoying and achieving Activities that help children and young people maximise their potential and develop skills for adulthood, for example: - Theatre arts groups - Self advocacy skills programmes - Cultural dance and music projects
  • Making a positive contribution Activities which enable children and young people use their skills and abilities in ways to enhance their own lives and the lives of their community, for example: - Conservation schemes - Recycling programmes - Mentoring projects
  • Achieving economic well-being Activities which help children and young people overcome income barriers and achieve their full potential in life, such as: - Preparation for work and training - Financial literacy classes for young people

... and with a bit of thought most clubs could reasonably make a bid under several of these headings.

There are some limitations on who and what can’t be funded, but these shoudl not cause a problem in most cases:

  • Individuals
  • Statutory organisations (such as schools)
  • Trips abroad
  • Activities helping only one child or family
  • Groups based outside Hertfordshire
  • Groups with a turnover of more than £100,000
  • Projects for personal profit
  • Groups where the primary purpose is to promote political or religious beliefs.
  • Organisations that already hold a Local Network Fund grant (for the current financial year)
  • Grant making bodies.

Grants range from £250 to £7,000. They can be awarded for projects that last up to one year. The fund will close in March 2008 at which time all projects must be completed.

To ask for an Application pack call the LNF National call centre on 0845 1130 161.

These packs include further guidance for applicants and the contact number for your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) representative who can provide advice and help with completing your application form.

There is more information on the fund on the LNF website:

For additional information please contact Helen Doubal, Local Network Fund Officer

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Vacancy for Community Rugby Coach (Hertfordshire): Paid position

Rugby Football Union
Community Rugby Coach
Full Time – 35 hours per week

Salary: £16K - £18K pa plus benefits and expenses
2 year contract (subject to funding)

The Rugby Football Union, in association with its partners (Saracens Ltd and Hertfordshire RFU), is looking to appoint a rugby coach as part of Sport England’s Community Sports Coaches Scheme (CSCS) to deliver its development programmes in Hertfordshire.

  • To deliver rugby coaching to young people in local schools and within the districts, as directed by the Rugby Development Officer (RDO) and CRC Management Group.
  • To introduce leadership skills to young people and provide ongoing support and sustainability by delivering teacher and coach education.
  • To take a professional approach in the planning, preparation and organisation of the coaching programme.
  • To maintain a comprehensive schedule of coaching as established and administered by the RDO and Management Group.


Must be educated to at least 'GCSE' standard preferably with at least five GCSEs at grade C or above.

Will have experience of coaching children and young people.
Preferred candidates should also hold:

  • an RFU coaching qualification (preferably Level 2).
  • A National Foundation Referees Certificate Part 1.
  • A recognised First Aid qualification.
  • Current Driving Licence


Ideally successful candidates should have a good knowledge and understanding of the game and the operation of junior, youth and senior rugby in Hertfordshire. They should be keen to develop a career in the sports sector and to develop their personal skills. You must have use of a car to carry out your duties.

Closing date for aplications: Monday 21st August, 2006
Interviews will be held on: 30th August 2006

Applications should be made using an RFU Application Form, which can be obtained by downloading from the RFU website careers page. Alternatively, for an information pack or application form, you can call our recruitment hotline 0870 143 2404; or e-mail When completing your application please quote job reference code: CRC/297/Herts

For further information, and an informal discussion please contact Peter Engledow, RFU Rugby Development Officer (Herts) – 07764 960407. Please submit completed applications to: The Recruitment Officer, Rugby Football Union, Rugby House, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW1 1DS or to

The Criminal Records Bureau enhanced disclosure process applies to this post

Key dates for 2006/7

County dates:

  • 17th September (Selection at Stevenage)
  • 15th October (Training at St Christopher School)
  • 12th November (Inter-county tournament at TBC)
  • 3rd December (Inter-county tournament at Westcliff)
  • 17th September (Selection at Stevenage)
  • 27th September (Evening training at Sports Village, Hatfield)
  • 15th October (Training at St Christopher School)
  • 18th October (Evening training at Sports Village, Hatfield)
  • 12th November (U14 & U17 squads: Inter-county tournament at Grove RFC, Oxon)
    (U17 Barbarians: Training at Old Albanians)
  • 22nd November (U17 squad: Evening training at Sports Village, Hatfield)
  • 3rd December (Inter-county tournament at Westcliff)

Regional dates:


  • Trials: 3rd December (St Christopher School, Letchworth) and 28th January (King's School, Ely)
  • Training: 3rd February, 17th February, 10th March (all Culford School)
  • Fixtures: 11th February - v South East (Basildon)
    25th February - v North East (Ely RFC)
    18th March - v East Midlands (Coalville)
    31st March - Senior regional finals (Wasps)


  • Trials: 28th January (Ely RFC)
  • Training: 11th February, 25th February, 11th March, 22nd April (all Culford School)
  • Fixtures: 18th March - v East Midlands (Aylestone St James)
    1st April - v Yorkshire & North East (Ely RFC)
  • National Festival: now 6th/7th May (Rugby School?)
England dates:
  • Six Nations: England v Scotland - 3rd February (Old Albanians)
  • Six Nations: England v Italy - 10th February (Twickenham)
  • Six Nations: England v Frabce - 11th March (Old Albanians)
Club dates:


  • Beckenham festival: 8th October
  • Rochford festival: 22nd October
  • London North senior regional tens : 28th April. (Colchester RFC)
  • London North U17 regional tens : 28th April. (Hemel Hempsted)
  • National tens (U17 & senior): 12/13th May ("Midlands" - TBA)
  • "Regional" (Hertfordshire?) Sevens: 20th May
  • National Sevens: 26th-27th May (Leighton Buzzard)

National Knock-out cup

  • Round one: 26th November
  • Round two: 4th February
  • Final: 15th April

Schools dates:

  • 3rd-17th September: "World Cup projects and development days"
  • 3rd-11th February: "Six Nations projects and trips"
  • 18th February-10th March: "Preparation for U14 emerging schools - local competitions, Six Nations trips, and projects"
  • 11th March: U14 Emerging Schools qualifiers
  • 18th March: "Six Nations projects and trips"
  • 5th May: Emerging Schools Finals (tbc)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Promoting girls' rugby - USA style

USA Rugby have come up with a new and interesting recruitment poster. The simplicity of style of interesting compared with those from RFUW. Which is more effective?

What is even more interesting is that the recruitment posters for boys and adult rugby follow the same style - and that the adult poster gives equal prominence to men's and women's rugby!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Coaching "beyond Level 1"

Also new this season are a series of coach training evenings called "Beyond Level One", aimed at extending the abilities of Level One coaches who may feel reluctant to go straight for a full Level Two qualification (though they will also provide candidates a good base before they start their Level Two course). The sessions will cost £10.00 per candidate and you can pitch up on the night, but obviously if possible it would be good if your club could advise approximate numbers.

All courses will take place at Welwyn RFC, due to its central position within the County.
  • Principles of Attack Wed 27 September
  • Understanding Defence Wed 18 October
  • Building a Scrum Wed 8 November
  • Lineout- Technical and Tactical Wed 13 December
  • Continuity Skills Wed 10 January
  • Coaching Process Skills Wed 21 February

Contact your club's coaching officer or Peter Engledow ( for more details.

Be more than just a spectator!

Calling all parents! Do you spend hours standing on the touchline every season? Well, now there are more opportunties than ever that will allow you to become a more active in helping your team.

If you are interested contact your club first - they will have a coaching officer who will have application forms. They may well also pay your fees for you.

But if you wish to book independently course close 3 weeks before start date. Forms are available from Peter Engledow ( and need to be returned to him at University of Hertfordshire Office A/ 561, College Lane , Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB. Cheques payable to RFDL.

A new introductory course designed to give volunteers some basic ideas for drills and games-orientated coaching, especially for players new to the game. £25.00 per candidate.

  • Wed 11 Oct – Welwyn Rfc 7pm -9.30pm
  • Sat 14 Oct – Fullerians Rfc 10am -12.30pm

The basic introductory game generally played at club level by U8s and below, but also used as a means of bringing new players into the game throughout the primary school age group - and sometimes beyond up to U14 level. This form of the game is also used at all county Youth Games - an excellent recruitment ground for girls' rugby. £25.00 per candidate.

  • Wed 18 Oct – Old Verulamian RFC 7pm -9.30pm
  • Sat 21 Oct – Hertford Rfc 10 am -12.30pm

Friday, August 04, 2006

Win a training session with the England women's team

Fancy testing your skills against some of the finest women's rugby players around? The BBC are giving girls the chance to train with the England women's rugby team at their base in Loughborough on 16 August.

The Women's Six Nations champions will be preparing for the Rugby World Cup in Edmonton, Canada, which begins on 31 August. The winners will have lunch with the entire squad before lacing their boots up for a training session with members of the England team.

To win this fantastic prize, all you have to do is: Explain, in no more than 50 words, why they should choose you to train with the England women's rugby squad. Be as original as possible with your answer, we want something that stands out from the crowd.

Ideally, they would like the winners to have previous rugby experience, but it's not essential - a passion for the game, however, is a must. A runner-up will receive a signed England shirt and a bag of rugby goodies.

But note : the closing date is Monday 7 August.

More details and entry form at

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Regional fixtures 2006/7

East region's fixtures for 2006/7 have now been released. U14s and U17s this year will play the same opponents:

Sunday 18th March: East Midlands vs East (Coalville?)
Sunday 1st April: East vs North East vs Yorkshire (TBA - but somewhere in East Region)
Sunday 6th May: U14 regional championship (TBC - Rugby School?)
Monday 7th May: U17 regional championship (TBC - Rugby School?)

Support the region: coaches and managers wanted

Application are invited for a range of posts at East Region (and - come to that - every other region as well). Posts for which applications are requested include:
  • Programme manager
  • Team coach (all age groups)
  • Team manager (all age groups)
  • Welfare manager

A small remuneration is available for each post, along with travel and other expenses. For application forms and further details contact Claire Sanderson (

Failure to apply for anything disbars anyone from making any complaints about all the posts being taken by people from Essex!

Regional Programme Review - make your views known

The RFUW is forming a Regional Programme Review Group to to look at the design and rationale behind the programme and are inviting comments on the current format and suggestions for the future.

The suggested main areas for discussion is "Development vs Talent Identification"

Although it does act as a Talent Identification System for both Youth and Seniors, it also plays a role in allowing women and girls to play the full sided game and receive new coaching ideas to feed into their clubs. However, is there too much emphasis on Talent Identification and should the programme be all about development? Alternatively do you think the programme does not reflect the competitive needs of those aspiring to be England Players of the future?

Questions to consider:


  • Selection: Should Trials be open or through County/Club nominations? Are the trials in their current format suitable?
  • Developmental or Talent Identification? Is it possible to combine the two? How?
  • Should all Youth Players selected for a Regional Squad have the right to equal playing time within the programme or should the emphasis be on allowing the more talented players time on the pitch?
  • Should the ethos for the programme be about performing to the highest level or about having fun? Is it the same for both age groups?
  • Should the Royal Sun Alliance Tournament be about winning or about ensuring that everybody gets at least 1 game?


  • Selection - Trials and/or County/Club nomination? Should there be a guideline on which players would be suitable?
  • Should the Senior Programme be development or Talent Identification orientated?
  • Should players who have climbed the Pathway to England and are on their way down be eligible?
  • Should Representative players (i.e. England U19s and England Students) be considered for the relevant age-groups? Should players selected for Super 4s and Super League but not selected for the England 44 be allowed to trial for Senior Regional?
  • Should there be an age-limit for Senior Programme candidates e.g. U23s or U25s?

NB These questions are not exhaustive and are a guideline for your suggestions. If you wish to discuss one of the questions, clearly state which one in your feedback. If you wish to discuss elements of the programme not included so far please feel free to do so. RFUW greatly appreciate suggestions as well as constructive criticism.

Any suggestions and comments will be considered by the Review Group, and their findings will be presented to the RFUW Board once the consultation is completed. The Development & Performance Departments will then examine ways in which these findings can be implemented for the future running of the Programme.

RFUW are also interested in thoughts about the current format. As always funding is limited, but suggestions on how we can make the most of the funding available are also welcome.

Expressions of interest are also invited from those wishing to be considered to sit on the Regional Programme Review GroupThe Review Group is expected to meet no more than four times over the next season with the first meeting on Saturday August 12th. (other dates will be: Sat 7th Oct, Sunday 12th Nov, Sunday 1st April).

Comments to the review and expressions of interest should be forwarded to Claire Sanderson on Please include “Regional Programme Review” in the subject line of all e-mails.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Become the most important person on the field

It does not matter how many players you have , how well trained they are, and what positions they play in - without a referee they'll never get a game.

The girls' game in particular is always short of officials - so why not encourage a few volunteers at your club to get qualified?

A Mini / Midi Referee Course is being run at University of Hertfordshire De Havilland Campus(Hatfield) on Saturday 7th October. Coaches, parents and ex-players are all welcome.

You owe it to yourself and the players under you to make sure you are fully up to date with the Laws of the Game and covered with reference to the Child Protection Act and “Duty of Care” .. no matter if it’s Mini/Midi or the 15-a-side game – junior or adult then here’s a chance to obtain full official accreditation from the Rugby Football Union

Whether it be only to referee members of your own club or join a referee society and referee at the highest levels, then this course will get you an RFU accreditation to help you do so!

Contact: Bill Ractliffe 01727 766987 or 07710 058187 or for details.
The Mini / Midi Referee course on the 7th is designed for anyone wishing to referee any game from Under 7s through to Under 12s, but there are other courses coming up as well for other age groups. Contact Bill for details.

Please note the closing date for the above course is Monday 11 September. Cost £30 – includes all course literature, worksheets, Law Books and official RFU Accreditation documents.

Club co-ordinators' meeting

For the development of your club the Herts Rugby Development Team have organised a development evening, ‘Tackling Safety’ for your Club Coach Coordinators and Club Reps.
The session will be held at a venue TBC on the 4th Sept and will start promptly at 19:30 hrs, so please be early. The likely venue will be the University of Hertfordshire or a central club like Welwyn.

The areas that will be covered are as follows:
  • Tackling Safety/Contact
  • Coaching Database
  • Non-Award Courses
  • Best Practice
  • Q & A.

The session will be split into 3 sections:

  • Intro / Booklet
  • Practical
  • Q & A/ feedback

Therefore it will be important that the attendees are able to feedback and deliver the Non-Award Courses to your club coaches. Please feel free to invite club members who you feel might be the best persons at your club to deliver to your club coaches.

If your club is still to identify a Club Coach Coordinator please do so and contact Peter Engledow with details.

To confirm you attendance, (with names of attendee(s)) email

Peter Engledow, Jamie Traxon & Ben Taylor
Herts Rugby Development Team