Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coach education week

Herts Coach Education Week 2012 takes place in February half term (11-19 February) at venues around the county. There is a full programme of courses, workshops, seminars, lectures and other events - click here to see the complete list in date order.

There are more than 20 individual sports featured, including rugby.

There are coaching award courses in Rugby

To see the full list of courses (in date order) please CLICK HERE

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Herts Seniors end on winning note

Hertfordshire won their third and final county game in Sunday, 20-0 away to Eastern Counties. Full report to come (hopefully).

All results from the final round of county games can be found here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

County festival: the full results

London & South East County Festival

Pool 1
Surrey 19 Kent 7
Sussex 0 Kent 12
Surrey 24 Sussex 0

Pool 2
Hampshire  0 Hertfordshire 24
Essex   0 Hertfordshire 27
Hampshire  12 Essex   12

5th/6th: Sussex 0 Essex 19
3rd/4th: Kent 3 Hampshire 0
1st/2nd: Surrey 0 Hertfordshire 10

Pool 1
Surrey 0 Kent 17
Sussex 5 Kent 5
Surrey 5 Sussex 7

Pool 2
Hampshire  5 Hertfordshire 10
Essex   0 Hertfordshire 34
Hampshire  20 Essex   0

5th/6th: Surrey 30 Essex 0
3rd/4th: Sussex 12 Hampshire 7
1st/2nd: Kent 10 Hertfordshire 7

For the results from all other Divisional festivals see the Letchworth blog.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Herts U15s: L&SE County festival report

Hertfordshire U15 Girls were runners up in the inaugural London and South East Division county rugby festival on Sunday, narrowly losing out to Kent in the final.

The first match in the pool round brought a 10 – 5 victory over Hampshire. In the opening minute the ball was moved quickly across the backs for wing Hannah Botterman to score in the corner. It was 5 – 0 at half time with Herts dominating the first half. Early in the second half Hampshire broke through with a long run to score. In the final play of the match scrum half Rosie Kay scored to give the Herts girls a nail-biting win.

The second match was a comprehensive 34 – 0 victory against Essex. Full back Katy Walker completed a hat trick, wing Beth Summerfield scored twice and fly half Zoe Harrison added a try and two conversions.

The final was delayed to 3.30pm, by which time the sun was beginning to set and the mist was beginning to crawl across the pitch. The girls were cold but gave their all in a hard, physical match against Kent which resulted in several injuries on both sides. In the first half Floss Jones had to come off after being barged in the face, and Hannah Botterman was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Play was frenetic and it was hard to discern much in the way of shape or pattern. Kent won much of the ball on the ground but the Herts girls' tackling in defence was ferocious. So even though Kent had more ball in hand, they couldn't do much with it. Kent scored first, in the dying minute of the first half, to take the score to 7 – 0 at half time.  Herts evened the score eight minutes into the second half through a Zoe Harrison try, after winning a 5m scrum, which she then converted.

Two minutes from the end Kent elected to kick a penalty. It rattled around the posts and in the gloom the spectators on both sides were divided as to whether it had gone over. The man that mattered, the referee, decided it had. In the confusion Herts ran back to take a quick restart but were tackled by a Kent player – who presumably was equally confused. The 12-minute halves were too short for Herts to come back, though they kept fighting to the end. Final score was 10 – 7 to Kent in a close, feisty match which was a huge progression from the Herts girls' first match against the same opposition a month earlier. Herts gave Kent an almighty shock and a run for their money.

Afterwards coach Gareth Bowser said, “All the coaches were immensely proud of the girls. Each and every one of them did all we asked, and more. It was a fantastic team performance.
“We’d also like to thank sponsors ExL Driving School for providing the girls with Herts RFU polo shirts to wear after the match.”

Team: Harriet Austin, Fran Bannon, Louise Baxter, Sarah Blissett, Hannah Botterman, Katy Cook, Lucy Corrigan, Hayley Everett, Leanne Green, Zoe Harrison, Rosie Kay, Floss Jones, Aine McMahon, Emily Marsh, Ellena Perry, Kayleigh Read, Ella Sim, Megan Smith, Beth Summerfield, Kate Summerfield, Katy Walker.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Herts U18s win London & SE title

Herts became inaugural London & SE Division Girls U18 County Champions today after beating:

  • Hampshire 25-0. 
  • Essex 34-0. 
  • Surrey 10-0 in the Final (gaining revenge for the defeat to Surrey U18 in the friendly game earlier in the season).
Herts U15s also reached their final, but lost in a tight game 10-7 to Kent.

More details when we get them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Herts juniors draw Hants and Essex in Festival

Middlesex will join Eastern Counties on the sidelines for the London & South East Division county festival this weekend, leaving just six teams playing for the Divisional title. Hertfordshire have also had a good draw - avoiding all of the unbeaten counties (Surrey and Sussex in the U18s, and Sussex and Kent in the U15s).

Hertfordshire's fixtures will be:

11.00 v Hampshire (U15s and U18s)
12.00 v Essex (U15s and U18s)
14.15 5th/6th and 3rd/4th place play-offs
14.45 Finals

U15 games will be 12 minutes each way, and U18 games 15 minutes each way.

The County Festivals are a key stepping stone to the Divisional squads, and from there the TDGs and ultimately (for U18s) England U20 squad.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Gallagher and Staniford ready for Black Ferns

18 players from the England party that returned from last week's French tour on Sunday have been selected in the squad for the Black Fern tests, which start at the end of this month - including both Hannah Gallagher and Michaela Staniford of Hertfordshire. They will be joined by eight World Cup veterans who return to the colours -  including Maggie Alphonsi, also of Hertfordshire.

England will take on their old rivals over two weeks with the first test kicking off at Twickenham Stadium on November 26th, kick off 5pm following the Australia versus Barbarians clash. The women’s rugby giants will then meet again on November 29th and December 3rd at Esher RFC. The two sides haven’t met since the Rugby World Cup final 14 months ago when New Zealand just edged out the host nations 13-10 in a thrilling final in front of a record breaking crowd, denying England their chance to lift the world cup crown again.

Hannah is one of only two of the five new caps who played against France to make the cut for the New Zealand series -  Richmond's Alexandra Matthews is the other. Commenting on the selections, England coach Gary Street said:

“Barring a handful of injuries I have been able to select the core squad from last year’s Rugby World Cup. This means we have a lot of experience in the side as well as a lot of potential through our younger players. We have got some exciting new caps in Alexandra Matthews and Hannah Gallagher who did an excellent job against France and certainly did enough to cement their place in this squad.

“I am sure for our experienced players there is the matter of unfinished business against New Zealand. In the world cup final we didn’t play to our potential and I know the players will want to put that right against New Zealand in our first game at Twickenham Stadium.”

England head into the series on the back of a winning Six Nations and Nations Cup campaign while New Zealand have not played an international test match since being crowned world champions in 2010. Street, however, is not expecting anything less that another world class performance from the Black Ferns.

“New Zealand’s international record is second to none, they always turn up and I am not expecting anything less for this series,” added Street. “Like us they too have a strong world cup contingent in their squad as well as some young players, which is really going to set up this series to be a thriller.”

Full squad here

Herts U15 v Surrey: match report

The second match of the county rugby season saw Hertfordshire U15 Girls score an emphatic 45-15 win against Surrey at a windy Old Albanians.

In a tightly fought first half, Hertfordshire scored first with a try by fly half Zoe Harrison. Surrey responded with three tries in succession – two by their captain Sarah Bern, and one from Eleanor Boatman. At this point the game seemed to be echoing the previous match against Kent but this time there was a greater cohesion, profiting from the additional training and match time together. Five minutes before half time Katy Walker evaded a couple of tackles to score under the post for Hertfordshire. This was converted by Zoe to take the score to 12 – 15 at half time.

With the wind at their backs for the second half, Hertfordshire made good use of Zoe’s excellent kicking game to stamp their authority. As the match went on Hertfordshire’s strength in depth also began to show as Surrey’s couple of outstanding players found it hard to sustain their high work rate of the first half.

Hertfordshire ran in five more tries in the second half with two more from Zoe, two from Hannah Botterman and one from Katy Cook. Zoe continued to demonstrate her superb kicking skills with four conversions, at least two of which were straight out of the top drawer.

Coach Gareth Bowser was pleased with the team’s performance. He commented, “It’s great when you see things we have worked on at training being transferred to a match. The girls have worked hard and deserved their win today.”

Team: Fran Bannon, Louise Baxter, Sarah Blissett, Hannah Botterman, Katy Cook, Lucy Corrigan, Hayley Everett, Leanne Green, Zoe Harrison, Floss Jones, Aine McMahon, Emily Marsh, Ellena Perry, Kayleigh Read, Ella Sim, Megan Smith, Beth Summerfield, Kate Summerfield, Katy Walker.
Carol Summerfield

Hertfordshire win two from three against Surrey

There was a complete turn around in results for the three county teams last weekend in the second round of county fixtures, played at Old Albanians.

The seniors beat Surrey 22-15, having lost their opening game, and the U15s also put in an impressive performance to beat the same opponents - normally one of the strongest at junior level - 45-15. However, the U18s - the only team to win in Kent last time out - were outclassed by Surrey, losing by 40-5.

The U15s and U18s now prepare for the Divisional Festival at Beckenham on 20th November, while the seniors travel to Eastern Counties on 4th December.

All other county results can be found here.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Latest: Gallagher wins England cap

Latest news from France. With 20 minutes left, and England leading 15-9 (thanks partly to a try from Michaela Staniford), Hannah Gallagher has just gone onto the field to win her first England cap - making her the first former Hertfordshire county junior to play for England (there were no county teams in Michaela's day).

Congratulations Hannah.
  • England eventually lost the test, thanks to a converted French try 12 minutes from the end. Final score - France 16, England 15.
  • OA's Caroline Colley was also on international duty, kicking two penalties in Scotland's 33-10 win against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Friday, November 04, 2011

OAs host open training session for England Deaf Women's XV

History will be made on Sunday when OAs will host the first ever training and selection session for an England Dead Women's XV. The training is open to all deaf and hard of hearing female players who believe they have the potential to play for England.

Players are eligible to play for the England Deaf side if they have a combined average hearing loss of 25dB or more in both ears This roughly translates to a minimum hearing loss in both ears or a moderate hearing loss in one ear but can hear normally in the other.

EDRU can offer Deaf Awareness advice to clubs and schools Integrate Deaf and Hard of Hearing players to clubs and liaise with club members to ensure the players are managed correctly.

Further details can be obtained from Tony Stoyles, director of rugby of the England Deaf Rugby Union, at edru@btinternet.com

Two Herts players in 22 for France test

Michaela after Wednesday's game
Following their performances on Wednesday, Hertfordshire's Hannah Gallagher and Michaela Stanford have been selected in the 22 for England's test against France tomorrow.

England's young and experimental side lost the midweek uncapped friendly 14-5 played in a monsoon-like downpour (see picture. right!). After taking an early lead (see ScrumQueens report) with both teams experimenting with new players and ideas (including ex-scrumhalf Amy Turner playing at hooker). Tomorrow is the "real thing".

Michaela, who has been a regular member of the England squad for some years now, is in the starting XV  while Hannah will have to wait to see if she wins her first full cap as she starts on the bench.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gallagher in starting line up for England

Hertfordshire's England U20 star Hannah Gallagher will have a chance to prove herself at the highest level on Wednesday when she starts for the senior England team against France in Marseilles.

The game is actually an uncapped friendly - effectively "An England XV v France" - but a good performance could win the county's young flanker a full cap if she is also picked for the full test on Saturday - and after that maybe the series against New Zealand as well. Hertfordshire's Michaela Staniford also starts.

The squad for these two games is very young and experimental, and the French have also taken the opportunity to pick some of their rising stars - including a teenage fly-half who is still at school - so we could be looking at what the national sides will look like in 3-4 years time.

Meanwhile on Sunday a third Herts player also gets an international warm-up.  OAs Caroline Colley will be playing in a slightly unusual centre position for Scotland against Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Herts development day: Sunday 6th Nobember

A reminder about next Sunday. ( at the bottom details of more sessions for U18/U15/U13.)venue: Old Albanian's RFC,
Time: 2pm-3.30 ish    arrive ready for action in case changing room not ready!
event:  a session for all U18's not involved in county teams to play a match, warm up with senior women beforehand.

no poaching please, this event is to grow rugby in lots of clubs, not just 1 or 2 clubs.

seniors please come and meet potential senior players!
Please let myself and Lizzie who will be refereeing, know how many girls you are bringing by Thursday 3rd please. A couple of coaches to help run the warm up, run touch etc would be welcome!
Aims of the session:

  • to play rugby at U18 level ( many clubs do not have enough for a whole team)
  • to help grow clubs U18 section by keeping girls interested and playing.
  •  to meet senior women and see that they are friendly!
  • To hopefully help girls stay in rugby at senior level.
  • stay and watch some of the county U18 and U15 matches.
  • girls play rugby 15 a side and have FUN!
  • more clubs helpd to grow an U18 side, as girls remain interested.

Next session will be 20th November, venue tbc.

other sessions will take place on divisional rugby dates

lets make these next sessions also for U15's not in county teams and U13's, as no club has a whole side of U13's yet. Lets keep girls interested and in the game and in their own clubs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mixed fortunes for Herts in opening county fixtures

In the first match of their county rugby season Hertfordshire U15 Girls suffered a defeat against Kent, losing by 32-3. The Hertfordshire team is drawn from six clubs across the county and this was the first time many of the girls had played a match together. There were some good individual contributions and the teamwork improved as the game went on and they got used to playing together. Hertfordshire scored first with a penalty kicked by Zoe Harrison. Kent then ran in four tries in the first half. The Hertfordshire girls injected more energy in the second half to limit Kent to just two more tries.

Team: Fran Bannon, Louise Baxter, Sarah Blissett, Hannah Botterman, Lucy Corrigan, Hayley Everett, Leanne Green, Zoe Harrison, Floss Jones, Rosie Kay, Georgia Ma, Aine McMahon, Emily Marsh, Ellena Perry, Megan Smith, Beth Summerfield, Kate Summerfield, Katy Walker.

In the U18s match Hertfordshire triumphed over their Kent opposition, winning 24-13.
Kent put the Hertfordshire girls under pressure right from the start, which resulted in an early penalty that Kent slotted over the bar. Just before half time Hertfordshire’s Vicci Cogger, playing in her first county under 18s game, scored a try which was converted by Abbie Maxwell. In the second half Kent scored two tries and Hertfordshire scored three: one by Liz Crake and two by Lotte Clapp. Shira Kilgallon added a conversion.

Team: Marie Beaufils, Oren Blindell, Lotte Clapp, Victoria Cogger, Jade Cooper, Scarlett Cooper-Wall, Elizabeth Crake, Emily Davis, Becky Dawson, Charlie Faloona, Ruth Flory, Melissa Gargaro, Sydnie Grace, Sydney Gregson, Shira Kilgallon, Abbie Maxwell, Rachel McCullough, Bryony Pomfret, Kate Sellars, Olivia Stembridge.

Herts Senior team lost 15-12 to Kent (no match report yet!)

Other county results

Saturday, October 08, 2011

RFU volunteer recognition survey

The RFU are committed to helping clubs and CBs to recognise the volunteers that make rugby happen. 

The volunteer team are conducting a complete review of the RFU’s current recognition portfolio and would very much like your opinion and ideas of how we can do this better in time for the beginning of next season.

We would like all volunteers from all sectors e.g. clubs, schools, universities etc to complete the survey in order to get meaningful feedback.

If you would like to see the current portfolio please visit our website http://www.rfu.com/ManagingRugby/ClubDevelopment/Volunteers/Recognition.aspx

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oren and Rachel rewarded by Herts RFU

Colin Haslam of Herts RFU read out the following speech about Oren Blindell and Rachel Mccullough at the Club Development Evening on Monday at Herts University.  The girls did not arrive till late as they were being interviewd for TV at Barclay's Canary Wharf and receiving their Diana award.  The also received shields from HRFU to recognise their work.@

Oren Blindell and Rachel Mccullough, two Welwyn U18 players, were only 15 when they began a
project which is known as RAW, or Rugby Awareness Week.

For this initiative to raise awareness of youth rugby across Herts in schools they did the following:-
ñ wrote a speech for teenagers to read out in assemblies about youth rugby in clubs which
covered the core values-Respect, Sportsmanship, Discipline, Team work, and Enjoyment.

  • They prepared a power point to be shown in assemblies
  • In the first season of this project there were 62 teenagers speaking in 42 schools across
  • the county in one week.
  • Teachers fed back to us that they were delighted with the project.
  • To support the project the girls applied for funding from the Big Spend fund and brought
  • £9500 into the county, which was spent on courses for coaching and refereeing and for helping to fund girls festivals.
The girls did not stop there.....
  • They have also produced 6 editions of a Girls Rugby Newsletter which goes to all clubs for players to print off and display in schools.
  • After the first RAW, they ran the project again during the 6 Nations earlier this year and have just sent out new speeches and new powerpoint presentations to schools yet again, this time entitled Don't Forget the Girls!
  • This time they hope to raise an awareness of girls rugby , during a time when the focus will be on rugby during the RWC.

Other achievements-

  • They recruited and coached a team to play in the girls school competition last Oct.
  • And now they are embarking on a new initiative... Rugby Ambassadors in schools.
  • They've been doing all this while playing rugby themselves-club, county and regional, and studying for GCSE's. ( which they both did superbly well at, I hear)

Their hard work has brought them several awards including the Presidents XV award and very
recently the Diana Award, a National one for young Volunteers, which they were presented with
earlier today.

So to recognise their hard work I would like to present them with these hoodies and awards.

U15 and U18 Herts Squads

A total of 64 girls attended the Herts trials/development day.

The U15s session was well attended with 37 girls taking part. The following 20 girls, representing six different clubs, were selected for the U15s Herts squad:

  • Harriet Austin
  • Francesca Bannon
  • Louise Baxter
  • Sara Blissett
  • Katy Cook
  • Lucy Corrigan
  • Emma Duncan
  • Hayley Everett
  • Zoe Harrison
  • Flossy Jones
  • Rosie Kay
  • Emily Marsh
  • Aine McMahon
  • Ellena Perry
  • Kayleigh Read
  • Ella Sim
  • Megan Smith
  • Kate Summerfield
  • Beth Summerfield
  • Katy Walker

In the U18s age group, 27 girls from three clubs competed for a place in the squad. The following were selected:
  • Ellah Hughes
  • Becky Dawson
  • Lotte Clapp
  • Shira Kilgallon
  • Olivia Stembridge
  • Ruth Flory
  • Marie Beaufils
  • Elizabeth Crake
  • Jade Cooper
  • Rachel McCullough
  • Kate Sellars
  • Vicci Cogger
  • Bryony Pomfret
  • Sydney Gregson
  • Courtney Arberry
  • Scarlett Cooper-Wall
  • Abbie Maxwell
  • Charlie Faloona
  • Oren Blindell
  • Emily Davis
  • Sydnie Grace
  • Melissa Gargaro

The first match for both the U15s and U18s will be against Kent at Blackheath RFC on Sunday 16th October.

Monday, September 26, 2011

OA Saints in pictures

OA Saints have been used for an Olympic 2012 project ...Teamwork... and entered into a competition.

A 2012 Storyteller came to meet then last week and has now published the story - below. Andy Wilkes, the Storyteller, said,

 "I would like to thank the entire Team at OA Saints for their hospitality and the encouragement they gave me. Especially: Amanda Bate - Club Chairwoman Hannah 'Coxy' Cox - Club Captain Tasha Saint-Smith - Club Legend I'd like to dedicate this Storyteller Challenge to OA Saint Georgie Robinson."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hertfordshire's Geri selected for senior England squad

Hertfordshire and Wasps hooker Geraldine Thomas has been called up to the England Women’s Elite Playing Squad (EPS) for the 2011/2012 season. She replaces Richmond hooker Emma Croker who has withdrawn from the squad this season for personal reasons.

Geri began her rugby at Fullerians, where she was when first selected  for East Region, later moving to Welwyn. She was also a regular in junior Hertfordshire teams.

Geri played regular England Under 20s rugby last season and will now join the EPS squad who will contest a three test series against New Zealand this autumn as well as the RBS 6 Nations.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Herts Girls County Trial + Development Afternoon Sun 18th Sept Welwyn RFC 1.00

As you should already be aware, the Herts Girls county trials & development afternoon for U18s and U15s will take place next Sunday 18th September at Welwyn RFC, Hobbs Way, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6HX. 

Registration will be at 1pm, with the session starting at 1.30pm and ending by 4pm. Please ask your girls to arrive dressed ready for rugby as the changing rooms may not be available until later. All girls are encouraged to attend the trials/development session regardless of ability. 

Under the new RFUW rules the U15 age group now comprises girls in school years 9 and 10, plus those in year 8 who the RFUW has given special permission to play in U15s this season.

The registration form (see right) must be completed and brought along by each player on the day. It must be signed by a parent for any player under the age of 18, to give permission for the player to take part.

It would be a great help if club coaches could email a list of girls intending to attend the afternoon by Friday 16th to help with planning, though girls who just turn up on the day will still be allowed to take part: 

Girls will be notified whether or not they have been selected by email by Wednesday 21st September. Please note there is a training session for those selected on Sunday 25th September. 

We look forward to meeting you all.


Adrian Pomfret, U18s manager 07906 863550
Colin Summerfield, U15s manager 07913 141207

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Fifth place for L&SE U18s at UK Schools Sevens

London & SE U18s - with two Herts girls - finished a disappointing fifth place in the first ever UK Schools Games rugby sevens today.

A 19-0 defeat to Wales A in the opening game of the day condemned them to the bowl competition. An impressive 26-0 win over Wales B set up for their final match, a 4th place decider against North, who had only managed to beat the Welsh by 12-0. It looked promising, but unfortunately the North ran away with the game 27-0.

Elsewhere the Gold Medal went to Wales A. South West had a 100% pool record and entered the medal round as clear favourites, by Wales A - only third in the pool - beat them 12-5 in the opening game, and then beat Midlands 5-0 to clinch the title.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tough day for London & South East at UK School Games

Its been a tough day for the London & SE team in Sheffield. After four of the five rounds of pool games, South West lead with a 100% record, with Midlands second with three wins from four. London & South East are languishing a bit with only one win

However, the only thing that really matters with the pools is finishing in the top three - and when the final round of pool games start tomorrow five of the six teams will begin with a theoretical chance of going through to compete for gold. And its pretty simple - L&SE must beat Wales Dragons "A"... and by a good margin. It'll be a tough call as L&SE's try count is not good, so its probable that other results will have to go their way as well.

Results should appear here during the day.

RFUW L&SE Divisional Coaching & Manager positions


Hi All

I am currently appointing new coaches and managers for the RFUW London and South East Divisional programme. Please see attached the JD and adverts for the positions. Can you please forward onto anyone you feel is appropriate and would benefit from being involved in the programme for the 2011/2012 season or anyone you feel who has relevant contacts.

To confirm the London and South East positions that are currently available for 2011/2012 season are listed below:

·         Senior Head Coach
·         Senior Assistant Coach
·         U18 Head Coach
·         U15 Head Coach
·         U15 Assistant Coach

The closing date at present was September 2nd but this date may be extended so if you can inform any potential candidates to just send in their application  forms to shelleyrobinson@rfu.com as soon as they can that would be much appreciated.

Two Herts girls on the road to Rio

Two Herts U18s will be taking part in one of the RFUWs first steps on the road to the 2016 Rio Olympics when they take part in the UK School Games in Sheffield this weekend.

Because of the inclusion of rugby sevens at the 2016 games the sport has been included in the School Games for the first time as - by the time 2016 comes around - these are the players who will be in the running for selection.

There are six teams - one from each English division, plus two Welsh sides - and the London & South East squad includes Shira Kilgallon (Richard Hale School and Welwyn RFC) and Sydney Gregson (The Knights Templar School and Letchworth RFC).

The RFUW's press release gives more information:

Rugby Sevens will be making its debut at the Sainsbury’s UK School Games in Sheffield this week, with 60 Under 18s girls from England and Wales taking part.

The Sainsbury’s UK Schools Games is a multi-sport event for the UK’s elite young athletes of school age. Athletes will contest for honours over 12 sports in a four-day games environment designed to replicate the feel of major events such as the Olympics Games.

England will be represented in Rugby Sevens with an England North, England Midlands, England South West and an England London & South East team whilst Wales will field two teams. The England players have been selected from the RFUW Under 18s Divisional Programme, a pathway developed to provide competitive rugby for the best junior talent around.

With Rugby Sevens set to join the Olympic Games family in 2016 the RFUW’s Head of Performance Nicola Ponsford believes the Sainsbury’s UK Schools Games is an important stepping stone to develop the women’s game for the future. Ponsford said: “Rugby Sevens is a game growing in popularity all the time and the Sainsbury’s UK Sports Games is a really positive opportunity to move forward and develop Rugby Sevens at this age group.  With the inclusion of Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympics some of these players might well be on the international stage at that event.

“The games are also a perfect opportunity for the athletes to take part in a quality event alongside other sports. The players will have the chance to learn from one another but also from the other sports, and sample a taste of what it is like to be an elite athlete.”

Rugby Sevens is one of just 12 sports in the Sainsbury’s UK Schools Games, with athletes also competing for medals in sports such as athletics, badminton, fencing, hockey and judo. Each athlete will also get to sample the other sports as well as receive elite performance educational advice. The 1600 young people will also be sharing an athletes village, there will be an opening and closing ceremony and they will have access to athletes mentors who have experienced world class competitions, all in all providing the closest experience these youngsters are going to get to participate in a major competition such as a Commonwealth Games or the Olympics at this level.

Mark Saltmarsh, the RFU’s National Schools Development Manager, added: “Having rugby union included in this annual Olympic style competition for young people in the build up to London 2012 is fantastic. Planning is well underway to ensure an outstanding and memorable experience for all involved and to give rugby in Sheffield a real boost.”

The Games will run from the 1st to 4th September, with Rugby Sevens based at Abbeydale, home of Sheffield RFC.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OA Saints say "We want you"!

OA Saints are looking for ambitious and experienced players to join our developing Premiership 1st XV.

As a club we have enjoyed over 20 years of success and are now extremely excited about moving forward in the forthcoming season. Last year was a tough but enjoyable first term in the premiership with a lot of lessons learnt and we are now looking to build on a strong finish to the season which saw some close league matches and an impressive win against Bath in the playoff game. We are committed to cementing our place in the Premiership and developing into one of the top women’s rugby teams in the country.

Many of the steps to establishing that goal are now in place. We have phenomenal training facilities, a new focused coaching panel, an excellent medical and fitness team and number of young exciting players determined to make an impact on English game.

With a large squad fielding two league teams and a team of 4 fantastic coaches, the 2011/2012 season looks set to be our most exciting yet!

What we can offer
Premiership rugby at one of the countries premier amateur sports facilities
Train under our new coaching team for the 2011/12 season overseen by Paul Gustard (Saracens Forwards & Defence Coach)
Two weekly squad training sessions
Additional weekly S&C session run by our dedicated S&C coach in the fully equipped Saracens gym (on site)
A chance to play and develop alongside several current and ex international players.
Opportunity to gain valuable Premiership game time experience,.
Fully qualified and extensive medical team of physiotherapists, osteopaths, sports masseurs and InterX therapist and homeopath
Free sports massage and initial osteopathy treatments
Preferential treatment rates from our medical team of physiotherapists, osteopaths and our alternative therapist
Fully funded travel to all away games!

Monday 7.15-9pm-Recovery & skills
Tuesday 7.30-9pm-S&C sessions
Wednesday 7.15-9pm-Skills & Match Preparation

Open Training-Wednesday nights 7.15-9pm

We invite you to come and try us out. Please come along to one of our training sessions where you are able to meet the coaching team, the players and see the first rate facilities on offer at OA Saints WRFC.

Please feel free to just turn up, or confirm your attendance by emailing Hannah Cox, our Club Captain, on oasaints@gmail.com

Located in St Albans, Hertfordshire we can be reached easily from the M25, M1 & A1. We are the only premiership team in the home counties and are home to players from Greater London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.

*** Promotional articles from any other clubs in Hertfordshire are welcome. Please send them to the editor.***

OA Saints appoint new coach - and plan for new season

OA Saints new coaching team, 4 coaches and a dedicated s&c coach, led by Stuart McKintyre, was delighted when Paul Gustard (England, Barbarians, Saracens, Leicester Tigers London Irish), who is currently a coach for the Men In Black, offered to help with the coaching plan to get the OA Saints , the Premiership womens rugby team, ready for the challenging season ahead.

Stuart, Captain Leah Carey and ex Chairwoman and player, Tasha Saint Smith spent two hours planning strategies, game plans and coaching sessions with the experienced Gustard.

Stuart said "having Sarah McKenna (England), Geri Thomas (England U20), Esther Weils (France U20) and other ex-International players on the squad, we have to make sure that the coaching plan will continue to interest and develop these talented players and develop those other players who are knocking on England's door."

Anyone interested in playing for either of the Saints 2 teams should contact Club Captain Hannah Cox on hannah.cox@oarugby.com. Saints also plan to have U13, U15 and U18 girls teams developing. Training for all female rugby is on Wednesday evenings from 7pm.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Calling all clubs trying to grow U18 girls rugby..

Here in Herts, apart from Welwyn, none of us have enough U18's to field a team, and in Herts we have Hemel and Royston and maybe Hertford with a few U18's.

The plan is,

  • one date each month we hold a session for all U18's not in leagues. 
  • Ideally the sessions are held at a club with a senior women's section and a junior section
  • and even better if the match is either a curtain raiser for the women's team, or after the women and the women can then watch the U18's. ( possibly also have an U15's match the same day, so a real w&g's day.)
  • and we have one session in Herts, the next in Essex and so on,
  •  and we make up teams and the U18's get to play a match and get to know other U18's and some senior players.
The aims are_
  • keep girls in the game
    • in Herts girls with high levels of commitment who are also lucky to have access to (parental) transport often gravitate to Welwyn U18s as it has a strong set up, the result being that former team-mates left behind then leave the game.
  • provide girls with matches
  • girls meet others
  • girls get to meet seniors and hopefully this helps them to transfer to a senior side.
  • girls get match experience
  • girls stay in the game
  • clubs are pleased to be developing U18's
  • clubs have an U18 team for the U15's to move up to
  • next season all clubs have a few more U18's
  • season after that, hopefully clubs are reeady for RFUW leagues.
  • it must be agreed before the day who is bringing a ref...until we know if we have enough girls for matches, then we should aim to provide our own refs.
  • The hosting club does not have to provide an after match meal, again until we see if girls/clubs will committ and turn up.
  • The hosting club in the early stages should be prepared to just run a training session if numbers are really low,
  • but remember the only way to keep girls in the game is to provide the opportunity for them to play matches.
  • Absolutely NO POACHING.
  • the aim is for all clubs participating to hang onto their girls and grow, not to "help" girls to drift to one club.
  • At all sessions girls remain in their own club colours,& hosting club provides bibs.
  • Seniors from the club come and meet the girls and provide support and encouragment.
An extra-
we could also include the U13's, as I imagine we do not have many yet per team, and then they could also form into little teams and play against each other-same benefits, same practicalities....more of a training session with short training matches, I imagine.

Please let me know what you think.

Amanda Bate              
phone: 07523 119436               

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tasha’s a top volunteer in St Albans

From RFU.com

Old Albanians stalwart Tasha Saint-Smith has been named Volunteer of the Year in the 2011 City and District of St Albans Sports Awards.

Tasha, the RFUW premiership club’s captain and chairwoman for a number of years, was nominated in the over-21s’ volunteer category for Service to Sport by Amanda Bate, her recent successor as club chair and the Herts RFU county volunteer co-ordinator.

In her citation, Amanda Bate said: "Tasha has played for Old Albanians Saints for 12 years and while being a player has attended training twice a week, sometimes strength and conditioning training, a match each week and worked during the day, yet always found time to dedicate herself to her team.

"She was secretary for one year, pitch captain for two, club captain for four and chair for the past five years. Now she is stepping down but will continue to play, and the Saints would like to see her honoured for all her hard work and dedication which has got them to where they are now."

During Tasha’s 12 years with the club she facilitated the move from the St Albans club to Old Albanians RFC, without which the Saints could not have realised the dream of playing in the RFUW Premiership league, which they entered last season.

This provides a pathway for girls who can play rugby with boys up until the age of 12 and then need an all girls team, so Tasha's hard work means that girls can begin playing at six years and move up through the age groups, then into Under-15 and U18 teams, the women's 2nd team and if they have the talent and determination, the women's first team and Premiership rugby. This also provides the pathway to elite rugby and finally the England team.

"Tasha had to bring down the inevitable barriers women in sport encounter when they take part in a sport which has for a very long time been a male dominated one," Amanda added. "With tact and diplomacy and a little bit of shoving, she has changed many men’s perceptions about women's rugby and now OAs accept it and support it. We are the only Hertfordshire club with two women’s teams and the only one in the Premiership."

Tasha, who works at Tring School, has also formed good school-club links around girls rugby within the school sports partnership, and formed recruitment links with the women's team at the University of Hertfordshire, and the Royal Veterinary College's rugby team.

The awards were presented at The Vineyard Church in St Albans and include a motivational keynote speech by Alison Mowbray, Olympic Silver Medallist with the British rowing team.

Event organiser Jane Roskilly, from the St Albans Sports Development Team provided by St Albans City & District Council and managed in partnership with Leisure Connection, said: "It is vital to recognise and reward our local athletes, coaches, volunteers, teams and clubs for their exceptional sporting contribution and achievements throughout the year. It was a fantastic evening for everyone involved."

Play a summer of rugby in Canada - or have Canadians play for you!

Lee Bennet is Director of Recruiting for Toronto Saracen's Senior Women’s Rugby team located in Toronto Canada (he's also Director of Development for the Girls' U18, but this offer is probably only going to be appropriate for adult players. Unless your club fancied a summer tour to Canada, perhaps).

Anyway, Lee reports that Toronto Saracens have a number of players that are interested in playing overseas, and that also his club are looking to attract players to Toronto.

The club fields two teams (a first and second team) in the Ontario Women's League - the highest level of rugby played in the province of Ontario. At present they have over 65 girls registered in their program, which runs through their summer season (May to the end of August - its a gets a bit nippy in the winter Canada, so rugby is a summer sport). In addition they have over 33 girls registered in their U18 Junior girls program they play in the Toronto Rugby Union (so possibly some coaching opportunities as well).

If anyone is interested Lee can be contacted at lbconsulting@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacancy: Head coach, Old Albanian Saints

The role will consist of coaching the Old Albanian RFC Women's section (1st and 2nd Teams) and will consist of stringent planning and delivery of coaching sessions as well as coaching and facilitating team preparation on match days. We are looking for a Head Coach to work with and lead, 4 excellent assistant coaches and a strength and conditioning coach.

Old Albanian women’s section (OA Saints) is a premiership club that has two squads for women from the age of 18 through to 40. The 1st team is in its second year in the premiership having been promoted in 2010 due to its phenomenal success in the lower leagues. The 1st team consists of several current and ex-international players from England and Scotland. The 2nd team is in National Challenge South East North 2 and is pushing for promotion into National Challenge South East 1 for the 2011/2012 season. The 2nd team has also been very successful in their league having won 7 and lost just 1 match in this past season.

The club is based in St. Albans at the outstanding facilities of OA Rugby which is currently the base at which Saracens Rugby Club train on a daily basis, with facilities including a floodlit training pitch, 6 full size rugby pitches including an international standard 1st XV pitch, a fully equipped rugby gym, 8 changing rooms and a physiotherapist suite.

This would be a fantastic opportunity for any coach who is keen on working with a dedicated and talented premiership side and enthusiastic squad and who wants to further their coaching career. The coach must be keen to develop their skills and bring something unique to the club.

- Coach the 1st and 2nd team players on a Mon & Weds evening
- Facilitate team preparation on match days (Sundays)
- Attend training and match fixtures throughout the season
- Attend coaching & selection meetings
- To lead on the delivery of training sessions
- Provide constant player feedback to squad players
- Liaise and work with the other club coaches

Potential candidates will be invited to interview with the club chairwoman and Club Captain. Candidates may also get the opportunity to meet the players and lead a pre-season training session.

- Level 2 (minimum) or 3 Rugby Coaching Award with a proven coaching background
- Strong written and communication skills
- Strong Leadership, delegation and planning skills
- Knowledge of Strength & Conditioning an advantage
- Enhanced RFU CRB Disclosure less than 3 years old

- Support towards CPD Training
- Potential for expense payments
- Opportunities to work alongside National coaches and to assist in player development of national players
- Opportunities to work with an ex-England International player and current Saracens coach who will oversee the overall coaching plan for the Saints
- To be involved in coaching a hugely talented Premiership sides at one of the best amateur rugby facilities in the UK.

Please send letter of application and CV to amanda.bate@hotmail.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

County dates for your diary

Some important dates for the start of the new season
  • The next HWGRDG meeting is taking place at Welwyn RFC starting at 7.30, is now on Mon 5th September not Mon 12th September, as 12th Sept is the date of the County Club Meeting at Welwyn RFC, to allow participants to attend both meetings if they need to. An agenda for the next HWGRDG meeting will be issued beforehand, but if there is anything specific that you would like included then please e-mail Peter McCullough.
  • The Herts Girls County Trial is taking place at Welwyn RFC starting at 1.00, is now on Sun 18th September not Sun 25th September, which means that there will now a training session for those selected at the Trial on Sun 25th September (venue tbc). This is to enable a Herts Girls County Training session to take place between the Trial and the first Girls County Games on Sun 16th October away against Kent, which the published RFUW fixture schedule hasn’t made provision for.
  • On Sun 6th November Herts County Girls are at Home against Surrey County Girls. These games will provisionally take place at Old Albanians RFC, but will be confirmed by the next HWGRDG meeting. Herts and Surrey are arguably the two strongest Girls Rugby Counties in England, so these games will be of the highest level, and a big crowd is expected.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Herts' Hannah hits hat-trick as England retain U20 Nations Cup

England Women Under 20s lifted the Nations Cup crown on Saturday night after a 48-11 victory over hosts the USA in Santa Barbara with Hertfordshire flanker Hannah Gallagher once again in the thick of the action scoring a hat-trick, and finishing the tournament the leading scorer with eight tries. The Final victory also saw England cap a tremendous season which has seen England beat every other U20 team in the world - USA, Canada, South Africa, Wales, Scotland and France.

England U20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “This is a fantastic result not just for all the U20s players but for England Rugby. Since the squad came together in October we have made significant improvements in our game and these have culminated in a great team performance and winning the 2011 Nations Cup.

“Against the USA, we were outstanding in the first 40 playing at the tempo and in the style we had planned. But after the break the USA were ferocious, coming out with a desire to restore pride and put points on the board. Their physical approach really tested us and it showed in the second-half score-line.

“We have beaten every team we have faced this year which is a wonderful achievement. The true test now for each of these players is not just to enjoy this moment but to build on this success and take their game to the next level.”

England started at a furious pace and put their marker down early on. England were already two tries up after 15 minutes when Hannah scored her first try, stepping her way through America’s defence to cross the line under the posts in an excellent display of power and pace. Amber Reed this time added the conversion.

Herts' hero's second came early in the second half when Charlotte Keane took a quick tap penalty before offloading to Hannah, who broke through the midfield and then America’s last line of defence to score her second. Then, from the final play of the game, Amber Reed ran hard to break America’s defensive line and although she was stopped just short of the try-line she managed to offload to Hannah who then completed her hat-trick. With Reed adding the conversion England took the final 48-11 victory and the Nations Cup crown.

A full video recording of the game can be found here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Herts girls at core of "best women's U20 team - ever!"

There can be no doubt - England have the best Women's U20 rugby team in the world, and Hertfordshire's quartet have been at the heart of that triumph. Last night (well, it kicked off midnight our time, so really early this morning) they beat South Africa 66-7, thus completing an unprecedented clean sweep - beating every other national women's U20 team in the world in the space of just under six months. The match was webcast live last night - but can be watched starting here (for technical reasons its in several parts. After you've watch Part One, subsequent parts can be found on the right of the screen).

Hertfordshire's Hannah Gallagher opened the scoring within the first five minutes, after which England stumbled slightly - and even went behind. However, after Herts' Georgia Peedle went over for her team's fourth try near the end of the first half the floodgates began to open.

This world-beating squad has one more game together, on Saturday evening (Sunday around 1am our time) before they go their separate ways - many, perhaps, to the senior team.

But for now, let's salute the best U20 team women's rugby has ever seen!

RFU Report:

England Women Under 20s will face host nation, the USA, in Saturday’s Nations Cup Final after defeating South Africa with a comprehensive 66-7 victory on Wednesday night in Santa Barbara.

England ran in a massive 12 tries with Hannah Gallagher, Georgia Peedle and Alexandra Matthews claiming braces of tries. South Africa, however, became the first team in the tournament to put any points on England with fullback Phindile Mtshali claiming their one and only try.

Now England will face the Eagles on Saturday hoping to repeat their earlier victory over the USA in the tournament which saw England running out 37-0 winners.

England U20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “Naturally we are delighted to be in the Nations Cup final and winning three from three games has generated huge confidence in the squad. We put 66 points on a South African team that quite simply did not give up. They chased and tackled to the final whistle and forced us into several errors, not least tactical mistakes.

“There is as much to be learned from this game as the wins over Canada and the USA. We competed very well at the scrum but still need to show more composure when faced with try scoring opportunities.

“We will prepare for the final against the USA with a more clinical approach to ball retention and use of space. Despite the score lines no game has been easy this year and we will certainly expect the USA to be at full tilt on Saturday.

“There are also a number of selection dilemmas as so many players have put in strong individual performances but, as a coach, this is a great position to be in.”

In a physical game which England generally dominated the Red Roses showed good discipline and patience to score their 12 tries. It took just two minutes for Gallagher, who continues her run of scoring in every England U20s game this season, to register her first try.

South Africa were penalised with a penalty for holding on and a quick tap penalty by scrum half Charlotte Keane saw her set-up the Saracens flanker to drive over and score. Fly half Emily Scott couldn’t make the conversion.

The Springboks immediately bounced back with a seventh minute try of their own thanks to full back Mtshali which was converted by fly half Mpho Moloto handing South Africa a 7-5 lead after as many minutes.

England, however, reasserted their dominance on 21 minutes with Bristol centre Amy Wilson Hardy making her mark. No. 10 Scott helped set-up the score with a nice pass to Wilson Hardy who flew through South Africa’s defence to score relatively unopposed. This time Scott added the conversion to hand England a 12-7 lead.

No. 8 Poppy Cleall claimed England’s third try with a typical forwards move with saw her crash over the try line after a period of sustained pressure, with Georgia Peedle then adding another try to make the score 22-7. Two further tries for Lucy Demaine and Scott put England into a comfortable 34-7 lead at half time.

After the break South Africa struggled to combat a forceful England, with the tries coming in thick and fast.

London Irish’s Matthews, who had an excellent game coming off the bench, scored within three minutes of being on the pitch. After some more sustained pressure by England Scott made the move and passed the ball out to No. 8 Matthews who stepped inside South Africa’s defence to score.

Rebecca Hughes then added England’s eighth touchdown. A good scrum and then some good handling by the entire England backline saw Hughes score, which was quickly followed by a 60th Fiona Davidson try.

Gallagher’s second try came in the 75th minute when Matthews broke through the midfield. She was tackled but Gallagher was in support and she scored under the posts extending England’s lead to 56-7.

Matthews was then back in the thick of the action with her second touchdown as she picked the ball up from the base of the scrum and broke through a number of tackles to score.

Worcester wing Georgia Peedle had the final word for England with a 79th minute try and her second making the final score 66-7.

Match action from the Nations Cup is available on http://www.ustream.tv/usarugby.

England U20s

15 Rachel Roberts (Gloucester Reds, Gloucestershire, North), 14 Georgia Peedle (Worcester, Hertfordshire, London & SE), 13 Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol, Sussex, South West), 12 Natasha Jones (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands), 11 Lucy Demaine (Bristol, Devon, South West), 10 Emily Scott (Thurrock, Essex, London & South East), 9 Charlotte Keane (Worcester, South West), 1 Millie Fuggles (Old Albanian Saints, Leicestershire, Midlands), 2 Charlotte Notman (Newquay Hornets (Queen Bees), Cornwall, South West), 3 Sarah George (Bristol, Devon, South West), 4 Ellie Gatlin (Rochford Hundred, Essex, London & South East), 5 Abbie Scott (Keswick, Cumbria,North), 6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens, Hertfordshire, London & South East), 7 Megan Oaten (Thornbury, Dorset & Wilts, South West), 8 Poppy Cleall (Bristol, Hampshire, South West), Replacements: 16 Emily Kingston ((Gloucester Reds, Gloucestershire, South West), 17 Mica Evans (Exeter Saracens, Devon, South West), 18 Harriet Mills (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands), 19 Alex Matthews (London Irish, Surrey, London & SE), 20 Fiona Davidson (Richmond, Surrey, London & South East), 21 Amber Reed (Bristol, Somerset/Devon, South West), 22 Rebecca Hughes (Bristol, Somerset, South West)

Tries: Gallagher (2), Wilson Hardy, Cleall, Peedle (2), Demaine, E Scott, Matthews (2). Hughes, Davidson

Conversions: E. Scott (3)


Substitutions: Hughes for Roberts (22), Matthews for Cleall (42), Davidson for Keane (45), Evans for George (51), Reed for Scott (51)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gallagher brace sees off Canada

Hertfordshire and Saracens’ Hannah Gallagher ran in two tries as England began their defence of the U20 Nations Cup with a convincing 41-0 win over Canada.

England Under 20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “The aim for this opening match was not just to win but to make a statement of intent. We wanted to demonstrate that we have built on the success of our spring games and improved in many areas, not least our defence. Our midfield and back row worked extremely well together to turn possession over.”

However it was Hannah's county colleague, and Old Albanians hooker, Geri Thomas who drove through the Canadian centre to set up the first try, the ball being taken on by fly half Jones. Despite taking a crunching tackle she retained possession and crashed over under the posts.

Gallagher opened her scoring when she touched down for England’s fourth try at the end of the first half, doubling her total 13 minutes into the second half with she was again at the heart of the action. An excellent drive by Mason down the right wing saw the winger come close, only for Hannah - in support - to muscle her way over the line from three metres out.

Hannah was rested after 70 minutes, England going on to win by 41-0.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Herts quartet off to California

Hertfordshire's Milly Fuggles (OA Saints) and Georgia Peedle (Worcester) have been called up to the England U20 squad that will compete in the Nations Cup in Santa Barbara later this month.

They join Hannah Gallagher (Saracens) and Geri Thomas (OA Saints) in the 26 player party that will be seeking to retain the trophy that England won back in 2009. And they will find one other familiar face in the team, as Emily Scott (who now plays for Essex) played much of her junior rugby alongside them at Welwyn.

The tournament, which also includes the USA, Canada and South Africa will take place between the July 14- 23 at the University of California, Santa Barbara - and all the matches can be watched LIVE, here, via free webcasts from USA Rugby  (in association with YSC). However, the time difference will mean an early start - England's first game, against Canada, kicks off at midnight (UK time) on the evening of 14th/15th July.

Live Video of England v Canada (kick off at midnight 15/7/11 (UK time))

The England Women’s U20 side has enjoyed a successful season with wins over Wales (32-19), Scotland (77-0) and France (12-5) but are expecting a tournament with three very physical encounters.

Amanda Bennett, England Women’s Under 20 Head Coach, said: "We want to be up front and say that we want to go to the Nations Cup and win it but we have no doubt how hard that is going to be.

"We are not taking any of these games lightly, it will be fierce. We know that we will be facing extremely fit and physical opposition. There are no performance guarantees when it comes to this tournament.

"The USA and Canada have a history of producing incredible athletes and South Africa has dedicated time and resources in recent years to developing the women’s game."

Monday, May 23, 2011

OA's Sarah McKenna promoted to England Elite

OAs fly-half Sarah McKenna is one step closer to a full England cap today after it was announced that she has been selected as part of a 34-player England Elite Player Squad (EPS) for the 2011/12 season.

Sarah, who has appeared regularly for England A over the past two seasons after a career with the England U20s, will have plenty of opportunities as it was also announced that England will have a "strengthened international programme which will see them compete in not only the RBS 6 Nations but more regular and competitive fixtures against their European and Southern Hemisphere rivals throughout the season."

She will be joined in the squad by Hertfordshire and Saracen's Maggie Alphonsi.

Hannah Gallagher and Georgia Peedle have also been reselected for the England U20 squad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welwyn-Saints U18 Girls Rugby team win RFUW National Sevens Competition

Last weekend, Welwyn Saints became the first Hertfordshire team to win the National Sevens - the premier girls rugby tournament - since Scorpions lifted the title in 2002. Martyn Voyle reports:
On Saturday May 14th the RFUW National Sevens competition was held at Lichfield RFC. Welwyn-Saints U18 Girls team played some excellent rugby against the top teams in the country and emerged having won all their 5 games to take the honours at this prestigious tournament. 

Welwyn found themselves in a tough group with Exeter –Saracens and Lichfield at the start of the tournament. In the first game, Exeter started strongly and scored first in the opening minutes. This rallied the Welwyn girls who eventually ran in convincing winners 24-5. The next game was against Lichfield and based on the earlier encounters in the East-Midlands League, Welwyn knew that the opposition would be a physically strong team. This certainly proved to be the case and the flowing rugby that we saw in the previous game was now being disrupted. Lichfield dominated the contact areas and were deservedly ahead 12-7 with only a minute to play. Welwyn were pinned down well inside their own 22 and it looked like the game was lost. Suddenly though, Welwyn broke through the solid defence and released their backs into space. A few timely passes later and Welwyn had scored to draw level at 12-12. A difficult conversion was to be the last play of the game. Courtney Arberry stepped forward to strike a perfect drop kick. Welwyn took the game 14-12 and proceeded into the top –tier cup competition. Lichfield were rewarded for their excellent play by going on to win the Plate competition.

The Cup was to be played as a round robin style competition involving 3 other teams: London Irish, Worcester and Paviours, alongside Welwyn. The first Welwyn game was against London Irish, possibly the strongest outfit in the country. Bob Dawson, the Welwyn coach seemed unfazed by the Lichfield affair and planned the tactics for the forthcoming game while most of the supporters and the team managers went for a lie down!

From the kick off, Welwyn’s strategy of keeping the ball alive and maintaining constant support for the ball carrier seemed to mesmerise the opposition. London Irish struggled to get their hands on the ball and, when they did, Welwyn forced errors by early pressure. Welwyn ran in comfortable winners 24-0. The London Irish girls showed great sportsmanship throughout; a game played in great spirit.
In the next game, Welwyn took to the pitch and put in a gritty performance to beat Paviours 17-0 and with Worcester winning all their games, a final showdown was set up between Welwyn and Worcester for the Cup. This game was a contrast to the earlier flowing London Irish game. It was a close, tough physical encounter. Both teams showed great tackling and defensive qualities. In the end Welwyn’s determination paid off and they ran in winners by 17-5. The celebrations started and Welwyn-Saints took home the RFUW National Sevens trophy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

U13 Age Band: Dispensation for existing U12 players

Dear All

We have listened to feedback on the U13 age band proposal and have come to the conclusion, that the vast majority agree with the strategic need for the proposals, although the suggested timing for introduction will pose some challenges for some of our clubs, therefore:

For Season 2011/12  any female players aged U12 and registered on Rugby First in 2010/11 season can play within the U15 age band.

All players must be 12 years of age on the 1st September 2011 and have played club rugby during the 2010/11 season under the RFU Continuum, only players that were registered on Rugby First before the season closed on the 2nd May 2011 will be approved to play U15 Girls rugby.

How does it work?:
1.       All clubs that have affiliated girls sections at U15s can apply to the RFUW to allow those U12 girls previously registered (in season 2010/2011) on Rugby First to play in their U15 team.
2.       Clubs must follow U13 Player Application Form  link and supply the required information, which in turn can be checked against Rugby First before approval is granted.
3.       Any application needs to be with the RFUW no later than 15th July 2011.
4.       Any non-registered players or new players to the game will not be permitted to play U15 rugby and would start in the new U13s age-group.
5.       To support this we have expanded the Club Development Toolkit Fund to have a specific line of funding available to support programmes and resources relating to the development of U13s. The funding is available through application via Club Toolkit Fund Application Form and must be received by 10th June 2011. If you require any support or assistance with your application, please contact your WRDM.
6.       Resources to support the coaching of the Tag to Tackle game will be available through your local coaching network over the summer.

If you have any queries at all please contact your WRDM in the first instance.


Rosie Williams