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

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 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


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