Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for Dec 7-27

Under the Posts – Dec 7-27 covers 20 days as we took some time off to relax and recharge ourselves. OK, so let’s get caught up!

We’re starting off with the revelations from  current and retired players about their battles with dementia, diminished cognitive ability and brain damage after suffering concussions while playing rugby. World Rugby has confirmed they have received a “solicitor’s letter which alleges a failure to protect players from the risks caused by concussions.” There has been no other comment from World Rugby and we’ll await updates.

World Rugby has announced that Monaco will host the World Rugby Sevens Repechage in June, Asia announced several key dates for their 2021 WRWC Qualifiers, Spain announced Euro WC match dates, Scrum Queens explores the changes to the World Rugby rankings, Round 8 & 9 of Allianz Premier 15s, Ada Milby is elected as President of the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU), Brazil has elected Mariana Miné as CEO, 19 player features and 12 media.

Our 2020 look back will be coming in the next few days where we’ll reveal the biggest stories of the weirdest year.

As always, thanks for reading and we’d also like to with everyone Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Video Summary

Featured Women’s Rugby News

Social media was lit up the past few weeks with current and former players sharing their experiences with repeated concussions. England’s Steve Thompson can’t remember winning the 2003 World Cup, Wasps Nic Evans confesses that ‘I’m too scared to find out if I have dementia’, and England’s Kat Merchant has lower cognitive capacity due to multiple concussions. In particular there is a call to have more research done in the women’s game as almost all major studies don’t include female athletes.

World Rugby has acknowledged that they have received a “solicitor’s letter which alleges a failure to protect players from the risks caused by concussions.”

Weekly Women’s Rugby News

Test News

  • Monaco will host the World Rugby Sevens Repechage on June 19-20, 2021
  • Asia has announced their 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifiers between Hong Kong, Kazakstan and Japan in March 2021
  • Spain announced key Euro World Cup matches in February, March and April as well as Madrid 7s on February 19-21
  • World Rugby has made updates to their rankings and Scrum Queens explains
  • Japan reveals the seven principles driving them to success at the Olympics

Competition News

  • After Round 8 & 9 in Allianz Premier 15s the Harlequins are still on top but they will face rivals Saracens this weekend
  • Rugby Africa is allocating funds to drive their 2021 competitions
  • Ireland further postpones restarting competitions due to the pandemic

Other News

  • England fly half Katy Daley-Mclean has called time on her international career
  • 29 members of the Kenya Lionesses have completed phase one of a 2-year program focused on  training and mentorship includes starting and running small businesses, financial literacy, goal setting, leadership skills and personal branding
  • Ada Milby has become the first female President of the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU)
  • Brazil elected Mariana Miné as CEO
  • Scrum Queens analyzed the games Executive Boards and there is still a tremendous gender gap for most unions
  • WRCRA looks at the continued struggle for women’s sports and coverage

Women’s Rugby Player Features

  • New Zealand’s Tyla Nathan-Wong is looking forward to the Olympics
  • England’s Jane Leonard shares her rugby journey
  • Scotland’s Rugby dives into Donna Kennedy’s incredible career as a rugby player as well as her achievements off the pitch
  • USA’s Jessica Watkins is on the short list for a NASA moon trip in 2024
  • Australia’s Alana Thomas is joining Fijian head coach Serirusi Seruvakula as part of The Rugby World Cup internship program
  • Thee first-ever Gauteng Women’s Rugby Institute has launched in South Africa
  • USA’s Jenn Heinrich is striving to create opportunities for women and girls “in every corner” of USA
  • Scotland’s Panashe Muzambe hopes for more diversity in future teammates
  • Ireland’s Sophie Spence talks to World Rugby about joining the Wales coaching staff on the road to New Zealand 2021
  • Jess Hayden writes for RugbyPass that she “fears fewer women will take up rugby post-pandemic”
  • Iran Rugby Federation Head of Women’s Rugby Development Nahid Biyarjomandi is part of the ‘Try And Stop Us’ campaign
  • Ireland’s Su Carty returned to work as a psychiatric nurse in Dublin during initial phases of lockdown
  • Goff Rugby highlights Candi Orsini, Christy Riggenberg, Kathy Flores, Tara Flanagan, Amy Daniels, Jamie Burke and Alev Kelter in his All-time Americans series

Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos

  • Greaux Rugby Podcast times three this week
    • Anne Onwusiri of Black Girls Ruck Podcast
    • Tiara Mack, Rhode Island state senator and Providence Rugby
    • Tiffany Fa’a’ae, 2017 WRWC USA Rugby Eagles Women’s Captain
  • Women’s Rugby Pod chats with England’s Rachael Burford, USA’s Alicia Washington, and Wales’ Liz Burgess
  • Try Hards Podcast hosts England’s Danielle Waterman to chat about her strange year
  • Rugby Hive has Canada’s John Tait on
  • Potholes & Penguins chats with Ireland’s Niamh Byrne

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Featured News

Several retired and current rugby athletes have come out about the effects of brain damage on their lives and rugby careers. They are calling on World Rugby and their rugby unions to do more.

We’ve pulled out a few key excerpts from some of the above articles that hit us particularly hard…

“According to studies in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, women are twice as likely as men, in like-for-like sports, to experience a concussion, symptoms are more severe for women and symptoms are likely to last longer for women in comparison to men.”

“…there is little research into women’s head injuries in contact sport. Research into rugby injuries has shown that players obtain head injuries during the tackle, and the head injury occurs to the person tackling. But that research, despite claiming to be about rugby union in general, is just based on the men’s game – with no women included in the data.”

“If people were to say ‘brain damage’, I think it’d hit people harder, make them realise you’re damaging your brain, the most key organ in your body, and you only have one and you can’t get a new one.”

We ourselves are struggling with these revelations as we believed that there was enough being done about player safety. Of course it isn’t always perfect but we didn’t realize that it was this serious. We were supposed to be one of the safer sport and we must take steps to truly be that.

World Rugby has acknowledged that they have received a “solicitor’s letter which alleges a failure to protect players from the risks caused by concussions.” They had no further comment, so we will keep an eye out for any updates.

Women's Rugby News

Test News

Monaco has been selected to host the World Rugby Sevens Repechage, the final qualification event for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, on 19-20 June, 2021. 

The women’s competition will feature Argentina, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa and Tunisia…all fighting for two remaining spots.

Asia has announced their competitions for the new year including the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifiers featuring Hong Kong, Kazakstan and Japan. The event will take  place starting March 5 and will conclude March 13.

Asia RWC 2021 Qualifiers

  • Mar 5 – Hong Kong v Japan
  • Mar 9 – Kazakhstan v Japan
  • Mar 13 – Hong Kong v Kazakhstan

Also announced is for Asia is Hong Kong 7s on April 2-4, Singapore 7s on April 10-11, Women’s XVs D1 should begin in April, RWC 2021 Repechage will take place in May, Olympic Repechage June 19-20, Women’s 7s Series leg August 28-29, 7s 2nd leg September 11-12, 7s 3rd leg September 25-26, U20 7s in October, 7s Trophy November 13-14, Youth Games November 28-29 and Dubai 7s in November.

Spain has also announced several key dates including:

  • Feb 13 – Spain v Netherlands
  • Feb 20 – Spain v Russia
  • Feb 19-21 – Madrid 7s
  • March 6 – Ireland v Euro Champ winner
  • April 4 – Euro WC qualifier final

Scrum Queens attempts to explain the recent updates to the World Rugby rankings. 

Japan Women team manager Akane Kagawa has revealed the seven commandments it is hoped will help inspire the Sakura to win Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Competitions News

The last two rounds of Premier 15s weren’t short of drama and some matches even had spectators! The top of the table is tight with the Harlequins at 40 points, Saracens have 35, Wasps sit at 34, Loughborough have 29, Gloucester is at 20 while Exeter and Bristol are tied at 17.

The bottom of the table includes Worcester with 10 points, Sale at 5 and Durham still searching for their first points. 

We’re looking forward to Harlequins vs Saracens coming up this Saturday as the league closes out 2020.

Rugby Africa is putting forth $276,490 euros to make sure their 2021 competitions can occur.

The Fund, will see 11 of the 39 Unions; Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Zambia, Madagascar, Côte d’ivoire, Senegal, Ghana eligible for the funds.  A very targeted approach has been taken to ensure funds are applied where they will have the greatest, immediate impact and highlights the attractiveness of Rugby Africa competitions

Ireland was hoping that their Energia All-Ireland League would begin again in early January but it will not be able to restart as planned. Likewise, community rugby has also been ceased and it is unknown when it will restart again.

Other News

England fly half Katy Daley-Mclean has called time on her international career. She retires with 116 caps, having become England’s third most capped player of all time in the Red Roses’ autumn international against France last month.

A true legend of the game, she will continue her journey as a coach with the Sale Sharks.

Twenty nine members of the Kenya Lionesses squad have graduated from the first phase of a two-year life skills training program supported by Isuzu East Africa’s CSR Program. The training and mentorship includes starting and running small businesses, financial literacy, goal setting, leadership skills and personal branding.

Ada Milby has become the first female President of the Philippine Rugby Football Union (PRFU). She adds this role in addition to her other roles  with Asia Rugby and World Rugby. She will focus on prioritizing player welfare and community safety when the sport returns to action.

Brazil has a new CEO in Mariana Miné and she will focus on restructuring for the next cycle and continuing the sustainable growth of Brazilian Rugby.

Scrum Queens has analyzed the international boards and executive decision-making bodies in rugby and no surprise there is still a huge gender gap. Progress has been made in some areas but only three countries – Spain, Canada and USA meet and surpass the recommendation of having at least 30% of their board represented by women. 

WRCRA has published another fascinating article that about the ongoing struggle for women’s sports to gain coverage. 

Player Features




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