Under the Posts – Dec 16-22

A quiet week due to the upcoming Holidays but we’ve got coverage of the 2020 Six Nations, the Energia All-Ireland Cup Quarter and Semi-finals, an update on the French Elite League, more on Germany dropping out of the European Championship and pools and schedules released for Hamilton 7s.

Other news includes Russia appealing WADA ban, a photo essay of Morocco women’s rugby, and the 2019 Asia Rugby Award winners. 

Can’t wait a week? Join us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram as we will be posting daily. We have a bit more dialogue on Twitter if you’d like to join in.

Featured

Squads are starting to come out ahead of the 2020 Six Nations; the action all starts on February 2. Ireland was the first to release their squad with debutantes Claire Keohane, Dorothy Wall, Grace Miller, Katie O’Dwyer and Shannon Tuohey. The team will have weekly training camps throughout January which will include a training game against Wales ahead of the Tournament. Italy has also shared their squad and training details. The squad includes five uncapped players, Silvia Arpano, Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, Erika Skofca, Rosanna Tizzano and Elena Vitadello. The squad will meet in Parma in early January.
15s

The Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup quarter-finals saw Old Belvedere defeat Cooke 50-22 while Bohemian blanked Malone 48-0 and in the last match of the weekend Railway Union outlasted Blackrock College 36-10.

Cup semi-finals take place Saturday, January 25 followed by the Plate and Shield semi-finals. Finals day in 2020 will be held on Saturday March 21st.

Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup Semi-Finals:

  • Railway Union v UL Bohemian, Park Avenue
  • Old Belvedere v Suttonians, Ollie Campbell Park

Energia Women’s All-Ireland Plate Semi-Finals

  • Blackrock College v Malone, Stradbrook
  • Cooke v Tullamore, Shaw’s Bridge

Energia Women’s All-Ireland Shield Semi-Finals

  • Shannon v Galwegians, Coonagh
  • Westport v City Of Derry, Carrowholly

Army recently defeated the British Police 22-6. They now look forward to facing Sweden and Germany in 2020 but they won’t be facing an annual fixture against England U20’s.

The French Elite League is on break until after the Six Nations but Scrum Queens gets us caught up on all the action.

Champions Montpellier continue to run away in Pool 1, with 44 points to their name. They’re followed by Bobigny, Bayonne and Stade Francais.

In Pool 2, Toulouse also has 44 points and are being chased by Blagnac, Romagnat and Lille. 

The Harlequins have taken over the top of the table as the Saracens match against Richmond was postponed due to weather.

Tyrrells has also announced that the finals will be played in Kingholms on May 31. The road to the finals will see the top four teams progressing to the semi-final play-offs, played at the home ground of the top two teams on the weekend of May 9 & 10. 

We covered this last week but Scrum Queens has come through with all of the details! 

The European Championship next month would have seen them [Germany] compete for a place in the World Cup for the first time in over a decade. However, just over a week ago suspicions that all might not be well became public when a notice about their withdrawal from the European Championship briefly appeared on the German Rugby Federation (DRV)’s webpage – only for it to disappear just as quickly. Little more was forthcoming until early last week the Spanish Federation issued a revised women’s fixture list with the German game missing, before on Friday the DRV formally told Rugby Europe that they would not be taking part.

Australia’s Buildcorp Super W competition will return February 14 and they’ve announced that all matches will be broadcast live on Kayo Sports and RUGBY.com.au and Rugby Xplorer app, while FOX SPORTS Australia will air every double header clash.

7s

World Rugby has announced a new 7s competition, the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. It starts for the men in February 2020 and the women got one line…”will also see a women’s competition launched in 2020 and will evolve to feature more rounds across the globe as it grows and develops in future years.”

We’re not sure what’s more frustrating, when women’s rugby isn’t included or when we’re told that plans are coming…

The HSBC Sevens Series continues January 25-26 and the pools and schedule have been confirmed for the hotly anticipated HSBC New Zealand Sevens at FMG Stadium Waikato. This is the first time that the men and women will be combined in Hamilton and the Black Ferns will be keen to perform in front of a home crowd.

Pool A sees New Zealand, Fiji, England and China with Pool B pitting Australia, USA, Russia and Brazil. Finally in Pool C, Canada, France, Spain and Ireland will do battle.

As well as playing host, New Zealand leads the series but is chased by Australia, USA and Canada.

The Guardian has done a fantastic photo essay on women’s rugby in Morocco. 

Playing rugby as a woman in a Muslim country is not an easy task. Even in Morocco, with its more modern approach to Islam, the sport is usually regarded as being strictly for men. However, the women of the all-female rugby team AMAR (or Association Marrakech Argan Rugby) are determined to surmount the social and familial obstacles to follow their sporting passion.

Russia has confirmed that they will appeal the WADA four-year doping ban. No surprise and most don’t think they will win the appeal.

Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport says more needs to be invested in women’s rugby in South Africa if they are to improve. South Africa finished 10th out of 12th at Cape Town 7s but that is where the support ends. They were an invitational team and were only rewarded one event on the circuit. 

Misc News

Faith Walker comes from the storied Memphis Inner City Rugby Girls team and is now coaching rugby at the University of Memphis. But that’s not all, she is also taking a full course load at  UM and juggling her coaching role has been a challenge. 

“I’ve gotten a liking for coaching,” she said. “Seeing how I can take my girls from not knowing anything about the sport to defeating a lot of people makes it worth it.”

Fatma El-kindiy alongside Gorata Kgathi has created a new programme – ‘A Try for Change’ – which they hope will empower more women and young girls to pick up a rugby ball in Botswana.

The pair have recently been invited onto the Botswana Rugby Union’s (BRU) women’s committee and after being tasked with finding initiatives to drive youth participation they started the programme. 

Lydia  Furse is now working with World Rugby Museum to highlight women’s rugby and she recently shared an Academic article on women’s rugby in France during the 1920s. It explores open links to feminist movements (very unusual in women’s sports at this time) and media reactions to women playing rugby.

The 2019 Asia Rugby Awards winners have been announced. 

2019 WINNERS:

Asia Rugby Award for Character: The International Cooperation Section of JRFU
Asia Rugby Distinguished Service Award: Fikri Al Azhar
Asia Rugby Women’s Rugby Development Award: Karina Soerjanatamihardja
Asia Rugby “Carlson Lin” Match Officiating Award: Peter White
Asia Rugby Special Award for Achievement: Ron Rutland & James Owens

Karina Soerjanatamihardja is a pioneers of women’s Rugby in Indonesia. She has recently been appointed Indonesia’s Head of Women’s Rugby, was the first World Rugby Educator in Indonesia and their first female match official. 

Inside Women’s Rugby talks with Keira Bevan of Wales this week.

Try Hards Podcast talks with USA’s Abby Gustaitis about finding rugby in college and coach Chris Brown talks about his coaching career.

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