This week in women’s rugby we’re covering the 2020 WRCRA Conference, wrap-up of college rugby in the USA for the year, updated World Rugby rankings, Dubai 7s and also previewing Cape Town 7s.
We also highlight several interviews with Freya Aucken, Sophie De Goede, Maud Miru, Lucky Nirere and Rachel Malcom. Then we take a look at breast injuries and how they are largely ignored in women’s rugby and sport overall.
We’re adding a featured section this week because the 2020 Women’s Rugby Coaches and Referees Association (WRCRA) in Atlanta, GA on January 17-19 is just that important. We attended last year and it was fantastic being surrounded by so many women’s rugby advocates and the networking was unbelievable.
We’ve included two blogs that cover some of the topics at this year’s event. We were so excited to learn that they would be taking on gender and sexual minorities in rugby.
The Barbarians vs Wales match was special and not only because of this unique free kick play. For some reason this play had social media in a tizzy and we’re a bit perplexed as to why. The male Baa-Baas are known for pulling off crazy plays over the years. Why would we expect the women to be any different?
We thought this was entertaining and didn’t really give them any advantage. But fun to see!
More updates to the World Rugby rankings as Hong Kong swept the Netherlands recently and that moves them up their highest position ever, 19. Fiji took home 3rd place in the Oceania Women’s Rugby Championship and with it qualified for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup. This effort moves them up to position 22.
There is quite a bit of movement in the middle of the pack:
Papua New Guinea has picked up a 3-year naming sponsor in Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group. They are hoping this sponsorship will help PNG play more international matches and help with recruiting younger players to rugby.
Lots of fall college rugby took place this weekend in the USA, NSCRO and USA Rugby DI and DII Championship teams were crowned this weekend!
In NSCRO, Wayne State defeated Endicott pretty handily 90-14. This is their 11th national title in 15s and 7s. Some are calling Wayne State a dynasty and that’s now always a good thing…for more on that read The Rugby Breakdown’s article.
In the USA Rugby DI Championship, Air Force defeated Navy 26-10. This was a back-to-back title win for Air Force and their third overall Championship.
In DII, Winona State won 19-10 over Colorado School of Mines.
For more on these fall Championships, go to our post covering the 2019 Fall College Championships.
Italy’s captain Manuela Furlan is happy about their World Rugby ranking at 7th. They did drop one spot after losing recently to England 60-3 and tying with Japan 17-17.
They are already looking to the 2020 Six Nations and then the focus will change to the Rugby World Cup 2021 qualification tournament in September. Ireland, Scotland and the winner of the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship 2020 stand between them and an automatic ticket to New Zealand 2021.
A little shake-up in the table this week as Harlequins take the overall lead by one point over Saracens. It remains close in third with Gloucester-Hartpurty at 30 points and Loughborough Lightning at 27 points in fourth.
This week the top four teams all face off with Saracens facing Harlequins and Lightening seeing Gloucester-Hartpurty. The Saracens and Harlequins match will be live streamed.
The Texas Rugby Union 2019 All Star Challenge took place this weekend in Austin, TX. Reminiscent of the old USA Rugby ITTs or NASCs with all star or select side teams, they had eight teams this year. This was double the number of sides from last year AND Rob Cain, USA Rugby Women’s National Team Coach was in attendance.
The Old Glory Capital Selects were the defending champions but they were upset by the hosts in Tier 1, the TRU Senior All Star side 43-3. Pacific also worked their way out of the second tier and will be promoted to Tier 1 for next year.
For more results from the event, scroll down to results!
Your women's Cup quarter-finalists at the #HSBC7s in Dubai @Aussie7s vs @ferugby @FranceRugby vs @RugbyCanada @fijirugby vs @BlackFerns @USARugby v @russiarugby— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 6, 2019
First QF kicks off 09:44hrs (GMT+4) on Saturday pic.twitter.com/eXAmcMAZOj
Your Cup finalists in the women's and men's #HSBC7s here in Dubai:@RugbyCanada v @BlackFerns @AllBlacks7s v @Blitzboks— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) December 7, 2019
The action starts at 18:33hrs (GMT+4): https://t.co/SxPbtEAyiB pic.twitter.com/V3zt3upcKI
HSCB Sevens returned this past weekend with teams playing in The Sevens in Dubai. The women played alongside the men and in a shortened format similar to what we will see at the 2020 Olympics.
The Quarterfinals saw an upset of Canada over France, well maybe upset is to strong of a word but a better performance by the Canucks. Australia, USA and New Zealand all defeated their opponents easily.
USA struggled in the semi-finals against New Zealand and Australia also faltered against Canada. In the final, the Black Ferns took an early lead at the two minute mark through Waaka. Canada answered straight back through Paquin and then Greenshields also went over at seven minutes. In the second half it was all NZ with tries by Waaka and Broughton at the 14th minute. New Zealand became the first team to win back-to-back Dubai titles.
Teams now travel to Cape Town, South Africa for the next stop. Stay tuned as we’ll have coverage ahead of that tournament later this week.
Argentina held their annual Seven de La Republica tournament which includes all of their provincial women’s teams in the country. 12 teams participated in Parana, capital of Entre Rios. The title went to Tucuman, who beat Buenos Aires in the final 24-0.
Great Britain has confirmed their wider coaching structure for their men’s and women’s teams ahead of the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. James Rodwell will assist Simon Amor in the Men’s programme while Charlie Hayter will work alongside Women’s head coach Scott Forrest.
China recently booked their spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after winning the Asia Rugby 7s Championships. In that tournament they scored 213 points in five matches and only allowed one try to their opponents.
China is taking advantage of this qualification and with 35,000 athletes already playing rugby, they are well on their way. There are also rumors of large sponsorships coming in but none have hit the bank yet.
We spoke to 17-year-old Freya Aucken, starting scrum-half for @RichmondFC1861 about learning from the experienced heads around her, selection for England U-18s and how she balances rugby with A-Levels.#rugby #richmondrugby #richmond #womensrugby #premier15s pic.twitter.com/ZdlGMSuL42— Gain Line Podcast (@GainLinePodcast) December 2, 2019
The Women’s Rugby Hub spoke to Freya Aucken about her quick rise in the sport and playing for Richmond.
Another youngster, Maud Muir also talks with Women’s Rugby Hub about her England U20s selection and being one of the youngest on Wasps.
Inside Women’s Rugby pod talks with Canada’s Sophie De Goede about the CAN-AM matches and her background in rugby.
Lucky Nirer is one the ‘Unstoppables’ in World Rugby’s new campaign to promote women in rugby. She’s only 12 but has been around rugby since birth. Her mother, Fortunate Irankunda was a 13 year front rower for Uganda when she became pregnant. From there, Lucky went everywhere her mother did!
Lucky started playing tag rugby at the age of two and hasn’t stopped. Her enthusiasm for the sport includesg winning a competition to present the match ball at five matches at the 2015 Men’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Scotland and Lougborough’s Rachel Malcolm speaks with Talking Rugby Union about completing her PhD in Environmental Physiology at Nottingham Trent University, and how she came to play rugby.
The Guardian highlights the lack of reporting and care around breast injuries in women’s sports. PhD candidate Brooke Brisbine visited over 30 training sessions across the country and surprised a lot of the female athlete and staff with her questions.
“It was quite nearly the first time that any of these players had ever been asked about a breast injury,” Brisbine says. “And certainly the first time a vast majority of them had ever said anything about it at all.”
#wrugby @NSCRORugby National Championship SF:— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 7, 2019
FT: Endicott College 31-10 Lee University
Big 2H push from the Gulls, which trailed at the half; will now play Wayne State College for the national title on SUN
DII College Fall Championship #wrugby— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 8, 2019
FT Winona State 19-10 CO School of Mines
A dogged battle through and through. Congrats to Winona in the title win & Mines for a stellar showing in its 1st DII fall final
And that's FT: Mines advances to the DII College Fall Championship w/a 29-15 SF win over reigning champ Vassar— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 7, 2019
So impressed w/CO team's relentless & opportunistic defense. Great concerted effort fr all players but that 8-9-10 combo of Oglesby-Walls-Bailey is special
#wrugby @NSCRORugby National Championship / 3rd Place— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 8, 2019
FT: MSU Moorhead 64-7 Lee University
An absolute barn-burner of a game has Winona State advancing to face Colorado School of Mines in the Women’s D2 Final pic.twitter.com/0dOZt0wAk8— USA Rugby (@USARugby) December 7, 2019
DI College Fall Championship #wrugby— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 8, 2019
FT: Air Force 26-10 Navy
Great battle between two clean, earnest competitors. Not sure if an MVP was named but Air Force SH Devin Doyle was an example of aggressive defense & heads-up rugby, resulting in 3 tries
#wrugby @NSCRORugby National Championship— The Rugby Breakdown (@TheRugbyBD) December 8, 2019
FT: Wayne State College 90-12 Endicott College
Title marks the Wildcats' 11th NSCRO national trophy across 15s & 7s
FT. Midwest 10 MARFU 5. MARFU moves down to second tier next year and Midwest stays up.— YSCRugby - Women's Rugby 🏉🏳️⚧️✊ (@yscrugby) December 8, 2019
Next at 12:30pm is Pacific vs South for the Tier 2 Championship. Winner moves up to Tier 1. #AllStarChallenge pic.twitter.com/LI3X1KPpk4
FT. Pacific 41 South 5. Congrats to Pacific as they move up to the top tier for next year.— Texas Rugby Union (@TexasRugbyUnion) December 8, 2019
Last match of the day is the Tier 1 Championship with TRU Senior All Stars and Old Glory Capital Selects. pic.twitter.com/2ETjVzZVo3