Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for Jan 4-10

Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for Jan 4-10 starts with breaking news from Scrum Queens that the women’s Six Nations could be postponed. This further further complicates scheduling for the remaining 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 Rugby World Cup event itself.

England suspends all community rugby (again) excluding their elite divisions and Premier 15s will continue with their amended game formats and strict training protocols. Speaking of Premier 15s, Round 10 took place with two postponements and movement in the middle of table with Exeter overtaking Bristol for fifth place while Harlequins and Saracens remain at the top.

World Rugby has set a 40% gender target for their committees among six other recommendations from an independent-led Governance Working Group.

We finish off the week with 3 player features and 4 media.

Video Summary

Weekly Women’s Rugby News

Test News

  • Scrum Queens revealed that the women’s Six Nations will more than likely be delayed
    • Editor Ali is right to urge World Rugby to use this an opportunity to look at the global calendar and allow the women’s event to standalone
  • Scotland’s Hollie Davidson and England’s Sara Cox received assignments in the men’s European Challenge Cup and were set to break more barriers for female referees until the matches were postponed due to the pandemic
  • Wales recently held a training camp focused on cohesion and preparing for the 2021 Rugby World Cup
  • Spain resumes some community rugby and their National team will begin preparing (again) for the 2021 Rugby World Cup

Competition News

  • England has suspended all community rugby except for the elite divisions
  • Round 10 of Premier 15s saw two cancellations with little movement to the table
  • Saracen’s Kristine Sommer urges Premier 15s to introduce testing and address the inequity with the men’s elite divisions
  • Saracens signed two Canada Internationals Alysha Corrigan and Emma Taylor
  • Exeter also announced a triple signing of USA Internationals Rachel Johnson, Laura Sheehan and Joanna Katlinski

Other News

  • World Rugby will be looking to implement seven recommendations from their independent-led Governance Working Group
  • Fiona Thomas ranks the top women’s rugby players in the world “right now”
  • Katie Wurst guest writes for USWRF about the state of University Athletics and how we should be asking Directors to “add instead of subtract”

Women’s Rugby Player Features

  • University of Lethbridge kinesiology student Karlee Durfey has stood up an  initiative to provide support for families affected by childhood cancer
  • Goff Rugby features Patty Jervey on his All-Time American list
  • England’s Rachael Burford talks with Rugby Pass about how 2021 is going to be a huge year for women’s rugby

Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos

  • England’s Sue Day takes a trip down memory lane with the Women’s Rugby Pod
  • Take a look behind the scenes at the Wales Women camp as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations
  • Eagles Overseas chats with USA’s Jennine Duncan about playing for Premier 15s Exeter and her season ending injury
  • Worcester’s Jemima Moss tells playing in Premier 15s and surviving being in intensive care with sepsis


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Women's Rugby News

Test News

Scrum Queens broke the news that the Women’s Six Nations will be delayed until the Covid-19 restrictions and high rates of transmission have changed. This further complicates an already tough schedule ahead of the 2021 Rugby World Cup…

We’re with SQs editor Ali Donnelly that this doesn’t have to be disastrous but instead could be viewed as an opportunity. If the women’s Six Nations is allowed to stand alone and is properly marketed (including TV broadcast) that would be monumental. We agree with Ali’s last statement from her tweet, “Be brave rugby.”

Referees Davidson and Cox continue breaking barriers with their assignments in the European Challenge Cup. Unfortunately the games were postponed doe to COVID. 

In Wales’ recent training camp, head coach Warren Abrahams has been focusing on cohesion. 

“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.

“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”

Spain is looking forward to the 2021 Rugby World Cup and they know they have to go through Netherlands and Russia at the European Championships scheduled for March. 

After that they would still have to play in the 2021 Rugby World Cup Repechage.

Competitions News

England RFU has suspended all community rugby activity until further notice following the government’s new national lockdown.

This includes all levels below the Greene King IPA Championship (scheduled to restart in March) and the Allianz Premier 15s and Gallagher Premiership which follow elite sport return protocols.

While Premier 15s can proceed this week, they had two matches postponed in Harlequins vs Wasps due to “ongoing Covid-19 concerns within the Harlequins camp”. The following day Saracens vs Sale was postponed due to aforementioned National Lockdown. 

Even with those postponements, round 10 did occur with three matches. The table moved a bit with Exeter overtaking Gloucester for fifth with their close win over Bristol. 

The top of the table remains the same with Harlequins at the top followed by Saracens, Wasps and Loughborough. 

Then came this. Saracen’s Kristine Sommers is urging Premier 15s to introduce testing in the league as the new lockdown restrictions come into force in England.

Unknown to some rugby fans, the women’s elite competition has not provided testing for players and instead have implemented different rules in the game to limit contact. They’ve also reduced game time, there are less scrums and training must follow strict guidelines.

While critics may claim that the men have more funding, this is a clear equity issue. Gallagher Premier has a robust testing program for their players and hasn’t changed their game formats at all.

Even with all the news of a new National Lockdown in England, teams are adding to their rosters.

Saracens announced the double signing of Canada Internationals Alysha Corrigan and Emma Taylor.

Exeter also announced a triple signing of USA Internationals Rachel Johnson, Laura Sheehan and Joanna Katlinski.

Other News

World Rugby has received recommendations from an independent-led Governance Working Group.

The recommendations are:

  • The establishment of an ethics and conduct charter for elected officials
  • The introduction of a fit and proper person’s test for Council, EXCO and all standing committees under its jurisdiction
  • Robust conflict of interest management process which protects the integrity and effectiveness of decision-making
  • A target of at least 40 per cent female representation on committees with the promotion of women leaders in the sport
  • Player representation throughout all the committee structures, including EXCO, to ensure player-centric decision-making
  • A continued focus on diversity, skill set, independence, capability and geographical representation when forming committees.
  • Council meetings to continue to occur twice a year – one meeting in person and one remote

The target of of 40% women on its committees and boards is a big one and one that we’d heavily applaud.

Second, the ‘fit and proper person test’ is huge especially because of the recent accusations against Fiji’s Francis Kean which caused him to step down from the World Rugby council because of accusations of homophobia and discrimination. 

We also stand behind having more player representation on all committee structures as they can bring invaluable perspective.

Telegraph’s Fiona Thomas looks at the best women’s rugby union players in the world right now. “Right now” is the key word as the list heavily favors Europe and New Zealand players.

  1. Emily Scarratt (England)
  2. Poppy Cleall (England)
  3. Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
  4. Lark Davies (England)
  5. Rachel Malcolm (Scotland)
  6. Safi N’Diaye (French)
  7. Zoe Aldcroft (England)
  8. Jess Breach (England)
  9. Jaz Joyce (Wales)
  10. Marlie Packer (England)

Katie Wurst writes for USWRF about losing college athletics a s result of the ongoing pandemic. She rightly contends Universities should…

“not subtract but to add. The addition of women’s rugby brings a vibrant team, high roster, low cost sport to their campuses, and has the additional bonus of creating an opportunity for female student-athletes in line with the intended purpose of Title IX.”

If you missed our 2020 Year in Review, check it out. We feature the top posts of the year including top social media posts and a few analytics.

Player Features


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