Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for Jan 11-17

Welcome to the top women’s rugby stories for Jan 11-17! We start with the announcement that the women’s Six Nations will be pushed and won’t take place this spring. The news was met with derision on social media (mostly from men) commenting “who cares” or “I don’t care”. We’ve joined Bristol Bear Stef Evans’ #icare campaign online and we urge you to as well.

Questions are beginning to surface around the 2020 Olympics as the virus rages in Japan. The delay of the women’s Six Nations piles even more challenges on to the 2021 Rugby World Cup. This begs the question if we can have these events SHOULD we?

Allianz Premier 15s pauses for at least two weeks due to the National Lockdown in the UK and they hint that they are looking at bringing in testing upon their return.

We’ve asked all the divisions in the US where they are at with return to play (WPL, Club and College). Hint, nobody is confident that we will have rugby this spring.

And we wrap it up with two player features this week and four media.

Video Summary

Featured Women’s Rugby News

This week we’re celebrating the #icare campaign. Once the women’s Six Nations was pushed and announced on social media, the “Who cares” or “I don’t care” comments began to pour in.

How is this helpful? We all have content in our feeds that don’t get us jazzed…if you’re disinterested, simply scroll by. Even better, maybe take a moment learn about an aspect of the sport YOU love and see why others love it.

Weekly Women’s Rugby News

Test News

  • Doubts are beginning to surround the delayed Olympics as Japan is really struggling to contain the pandemic
  • The women’s Six Nations has been postponed further potentially delaying the 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifiers
  • Nick Heath shares the many challenges ahead of the 2021 Rugby World Cup
  • Fiji pushes forward with their local Super Series which will have 16 men’s teams and six women’s

Competition News

  • Spain begins their competitions again but only one of four scheduled matches took place in the Iberrola League
  • Allianz Premier 15s suspends for two weeks and there are further calls for testing upon return
  • The WPL in the US is still hoping for a spring season but has put a cut-off of March 1
  • We look at the state of rugby in the US including the WPL, club and colleges

Other News

  • Scrum Queen’s Editor Ali shares her thoughts on what the postponement of the Six Nations means and should the Olympics and 2021 Rugby World Cup happen
  • Ireland’s 2020 Her Sport Awards Shortlist includes three categories and rugby athletes Lindsey Peat, Beibhinn Parsons and the Irish National Team are included
  • England’s Ealing Trailfinders has outlined its ambitions to become a “world class hub” for female players
  • The USA Rugby Collegiate National Council seated eight members and appointed a representative to the USA Rugby Board of Directors

Women’s Rugby Player Features

  • Goff Rugby features Mari Wallace and Victoria Folayan on his All-Time American list

Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos

  • Off the Ball talks with Ireland’s Ciara Griffin about increasing coverage of the women’s game
  • Women’s Rugby Pod has Ali Donnelly of Scrum Queens
  • Off the Ball takes on the topic of “Why are female sports being hit so-much harder by COVID-19?”
  • Ireland talks with captain Ciara Griffin about their continued goals

 

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Featured News

We’re loving the #icare campaign and everything it stands for! After the postponement of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations last week, a number of people (men) online commented that ‘nobody cares’. In response, Bristols Bears Stef Evans started the #icare movement on Instagram. 

It’s a call for women’s rugby fans and players to show their support for the sport. We urge you to share your voice!

Women's Rugby News

Test News

Doubts are beginning to surround the delayed 2020 Olympics games that are scheduled to take place this summer in Japan.

“We need to do the best we can to prepare for the Games at this moment, but it could go either way,” Japan’s administrative and regulatory reform minister, Taro Kono, said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Thursday.

“Anything is possible, but as the host of the Games we need to do whatever we can, so that when it’s a Go, we can have a good Olympic Games. The Olympic Committee must be thinking about Plan B, Plan C. But the situation is not easy.”

Dick Pound, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee, has also said he “can’t be certain” that the Games will go ahead this summer.

Nick Heath shares our fears of the challenges ahead for the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Hosts New Zealand, England, France, USA, Canada, Australia, Wales, South Africa and Fiji are confirmed but there are still three open spots for the event.

Qualification matches have been delayed or are waiting for when matches can be played again. If the qualification matches can be played and we get to 12  teams, there are still many logistical challenges to holding the event.

Teams will have to fly from all over the world to New Zealand, quarantine and then get ready to play for up to four weeks. This will incur huge costs to the teams and World Rugby will more than likely have to subsidize. Athletes will be making huge sacrifices to be away from their lives and work for 6-8 weeks.

If it was a men’s World Cup we don’t think we’d be having these conversations, we believe the event would be pushed out no questions asked. At some point we have to stop trying to problem solve and recognize that despite best efforts, this isn’t what is best for the growth of women’s rugby.

Six Nations Rugby Limited today confirmed that the Women’s 2021 Championships will not take place in the regular Six Nations window of February and March this year. It will instead be scheduled in revised windows later this spring or early summer.

As Scrum Queens Editor Ali wrote about last week, this can be seen as opportunity to shift the global calendar and it would allow the women’s event to stand alone. 

The Fijiana 7s teams will feature in the Fiji Rugby Union Super Series in three weeks time. The tournament will see 16 men’s and six women’s teams.

Competitions News

Spain kicked off their Iberrola League again this weekend but only one match took place In surprising news, the other three matches weren’t delayed because of COVID but rather weather.

Allianz Premier 15s has paused play for two weeks due to increased prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and clubs. 

RFU head of women’s performance, Nicky Ponsford said: “After consultation with representatives from Premier 15s clubs we have decided to pause the league until the end of the month.

“While we aim to return at the end of the month, we are conscious this is a fluid situation and we will continue to review and evaluate during this playing break.

While most were excited that Premier 15s was actually playing, there was always a nagging fear that without COVID testing…it was a losing battle and only a matter of time. Overall 13 matches have been postponed while 44 have been played. 

We featured Kristine Sommer last week who has been pressing for testing and this week several players and writers have joined that charge. If the women playing in Allianz Premier 15s are considered elite as are the men in the same division, where is the parity for testing? Don’t get us started on the other inequities…one battle at a time!

In the US there is very little rugby happening and  the Women’s Premier League is no exception. The league organizers are hopeful for a 2021 season. 

The tentative plan for the 2021 season would see regular-season games to begin on April 10 and that nationals would occur the weekend of June 26. This is dependent on all teams across the US being cleared to play by February 1 though.

If not, the regular season would be cut in half, games would begin May 15, and nationals would retain its date. Finally, if teams were not yet cleared to cross state borders and play full contact XVs by March 1, then the season would be canceled.

We’ve talked plenty about oversea competitions mostly because we wanted to talk about some live rugby. Now we’ve turned our focus to USA competitions. A quick summary of what we’ve founds is that almost all college rugby is suspended. Adult club rugby is mostly suspended with some Unions allowing social matches if local guidelines are met. 

Most Unions are hoping for a spring season but it seems most are looking forward to summer 7s.

Other News

Ali from Scrum Queens takes us through what the postponement of the Six Nations means and the opportunities it allows.

We have long called for the women’s competition to be held in a separate window, freeing itself from terrible kick-off times that often overlap with each other which  seem designed to put people off watching rather than entice them, and giving itself a shop-window where it can stand on its own two feet.

Obviously, the brand association with the giant of the competition that it is has been hugely important for the women’s game – and we should remember many other women’s nations look on with envy at the secure annual window these six teams have to play in – but it has long felt a matter of when rather than if it moved.

Ali and John Birch also chat about what the World Cup is really about:

World Rugby know too that New Zealand, even if it doesn’t allow many international fans to come in, could well fill the grounds with their home fans, but as the months go on, questions will have to be asked about what the right thing to do is here.

As John Birch pointed out to me yesterday, the women’s World Cup is primarily about aspiring players aiming to win, or simply take part in , the pinnacle of their game, and selling the women’s game by showing it at its best. Whether it can achieve both of these things in 2021 remains to be seen.

Ireland’s 2020 Her Sport Awards Shortlist includes three categories and rugby is in each:

  1. “Woman of the Year” – Lindsey Peat
  2. “Young Athlete of the Year” – Beibhinn Parsons
  3. “Team of the Year” – Irish Rugby Team

England’s Ealing Trailfinders has outlined its ambitions to become a “world class hub” for female players after securing a long-term investment to fund its very first women and girls’ programme.

The initiative will be run in conjunction with The Henley College and Brunel University, both of which have been partners of the men’s championship club in recent seasons.

The USA Rugby Collegiate National Council seated eight members and appointed a representative to the USA Rugby Board of Directors. The Council lastly appointed a USA Rugby Board Representative in Michele Yarbrough.

Player Features

Media

 

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