Welcome to the top women’s rugby stories for Feb 22-28 featuring Russia repeating as Madrid 7s Champion amongst some COVID concerns while Spain defeated a young Netherlands team to conquer the 2020 European Championships and move on to the 2021 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
In other XVs news, Wales has named their squad and captain Siwan Lillicrap ahead of the rescheduled Six Nations and we also look at league results including Spain’s Iberdrola, Allianz Premier 15s and a controversial finish to France’s Elite 1 pool phase.
In 7s news, we learned a bit more about funding specifics for GB 7s and National Collegiate Rugby will host the Collegiate Rugby Championships 7s (CRC 7s) this summer.
We wrap it all up with seven player features and nine media.
Featured Women’s Rugby News
Two huge events took place this weekend, Russia took home back-to-back Championships at Madrid 7s and Spain clinched the 2020 European Championships over the Netherlands.
Madrid 7s wasn’t without a little bit of drama as France withdrew from the tournament on Saturday due to positive COVID tests. Then on Sunday, the USA also withdrew citing “positive cases on other teams”. After the tournament France re-tested the players and revealed they were false positives. We fear this is going to be the road forward for a bit, frequent testing can introduce false positives and Unions will act quickly to do what is best for their players.
With their fourth win of the tournament in Europe, Spain has shown they need more competition. The next step would be re-entry into the Six Nations…
Weekly Women’s Rugby News
- GB 7s has revealed that the National Lobby funding will be a banded payment structure to give equal opportunities to both men and women
- The Black Ferns held their second training camp ahead of the year and they are narrowing down their 2021 RWC squad
- South Africa is also in camp ahead of the 2021 RWC
- Wales has named Siwan Lillicrap as captain of the squad ahead of the rescheduled Six Nations while former skipper Carys Phillips returns
- Majadahonda has climbed to the top of the table in Spain’s Iberdrola League
- The Saracens moved to the top of the table desire a close loss to the Wasps in Allianz Premier 15s
- Scrum Queens explains the controversial end of the French Elite pool phase
- The USA Rugby Club Council has canceled the 2021 USA Rugby Senior Club XVs Championships
- The National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) will host the 2021 Collegiate Rugby Championship on Memorial Day weekend
- President of Australia Rugby Josephine Sukkar has been appointed the new Chair of the Australian Sports Commission
- We learn more about the Female BRAIN Project
- Niamh Briggs is named the Front Row Union Ireland Women Player of the Decade after a social media poll
Women’s Rugby Player Features
- England’s Carrie Roberts talks about playing on both sides of the ball
- USA’s Naya Tapper is featured by Pop Sugar among other Black Olympians
- WRCRA profiles the UCLA women at the 1979 Mardi Gras Tournament
- Goff Rugby adds Colleen Fahey, Pam Kosanke and Laura Cabrera to the All-Time America list
- World Rugby dives in deep with Australia’s Josephine Sukkar and her appointment as the first female chair of the Australian Sports Commission
Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos
- Spain shares their highlights from Madrid 7s
- Women’s Rugby Pod has Australia’s Alana Thomas on
- Asia Rugby profiles Sarah abd elbaki of Syria, Farah Al Azri of UAE and Yara Boumatar of Lebanon
- Allianz Premier 15s Round 13 highlights
- RAF Rugby Union talks with England’s Amy Cokayne
- Hall of Sportz chats with England’s Rachael Burford
- Gain Line Podcast features Canada’s Stef Evans
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Two huge events took place this weekend, Madrid 7s wrapped and the Rugby Europe Championships were completed.
In Madrid, Russia repeated as back-to-back winner defeating Kenya 19-0. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when France withdrew due to two players testing positive for COVID. Shortly afterwards, USA also withdrew due to “positive cases on other teams”. France did update later that the players were tested again as RT-PCR tests and the players weren’t positive after all.
While the tournament finished, it is important to note that this may continue to occur. When testing frequently there is a risk of false positives and you can’t blame teams for trying to protect their players.
In Guadalajara Spain met a young and upcoming Netherlands side for the 2020 European Championship. In the Spaniards tallied a score of 46-0 by halftime and ended the match at 87-0. They now look forward to the 2021 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers against chance to compete to a place at the World Cup, against Ireland, Scotland and Italy. We’re still awaiting dates for the qualifiers.
Spain has now won every match of the European Championships since 2016. The fact that they continue to be excluded from the Six Nations is just laughable now. The sport would be immensely strengthened in Europe if they were included.
The RFU has released a few more minor details about GB 7s funding. A banded payment structure will give equal opportunities across both the men’s and women’s programs to be financially rewarded at the same level.
“We’re delighted to be able to confirm an equal pay structure up to the Olympics, and are, of course, grateful to the National Lottery for their fantastic support.
The Black Ferns have already held two training camps ahead of the 2021 Rugby World Cup.
45 players make up the wider training squad and it’s all about building depth and having all players clued up on structures and game plans for coach Glenn Moore.
“We have a good cross-section here. A good level of experienced players and some really good young talent that has come through Farah Palmer Cup and then onto either the Barbarians team or the Black Ferns in November. Some of them have grown a lot just in the short space of time between those games and now.
“Some of them have got a lot stronger and bigger and we are a lot fitter than what we were in November as well.”
Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer expressed his satisfaction with the strides being made by his charges at their training camp in Stellenbosch as the countdown continues to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September.
Siwan Lillicrap has retained the Wales women captaincy for the rescheduled Six Nations, while former skipper Carys Phillips returns to the squad.
Majadahonda has become the new leader of the Iberdrola League in Spain.
Every match was shown live this week (would like better kick-off times!). Most of the scores were lopsided except for Waps and Saracens which came down to the last minute. In the end the Wasps outlasted the Saracens 26-24 and they remain in fourth place on the table.
Even with the loss, the Saracens are on top by one point with 52 overall. They are chased bu the Harelquins with 51 points, Loughborough with 48, Wasps with 44 and still in the hunt is Exeter at 39.
This week all eyes turn to Wasps and Exeter…
France rugby never disappoints and the Elite 1 League is not the exception. Scrum Queens gives the entire rundown but spoiler 0.8 of a point does matter…
The USA Rugby Club Council has officially canceled the 2021 USA Rugby Senior Club XVs Championships.
“Due to the ongoing pandemic and the timing of vaccine availability nationwide, the Senior Club Rugby National Council has elected to forego the formal organization of competitions towards a 2021 XVs National Championship event. Moving forward, the council is committed to the development of models for inter-union competition to provide a XVs championship structure for interested constituents.
This announcement does not affect any planning for a 2021 7s National Championship event. Preparation for a 2021 7s National Championship event will continue with the guidance of health officials until it is otherwise unreasonable or impracticable to organize. More information regarding 7s is to follow.”
National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) will host the 2021 Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) on Memorial Day Weekend, crowning men’s and women’s 7s national champions in conjunction with an all-star 10s competition.
Businesswoman and President of Australian Women’s Rugby Josephine Sukkar has been appointed as the new Chair of the Australian Sports Commission.
Announcing the appointment of the first woman to the role, Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said Sukkar is an outstanding leader brings 30 years of business experience to the role, as the co-founder and principal of Buildcorp Group, while also having a strong understanding of Australian sport.
Dr. Donna Duffy, Director of CWHW Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity, and Dr. Chris Rhea, associate professor of Kinesiology are the Co-Directors of the Behavior and Recovery After head Impact and Neurotrauma (BRAIN): The Female BRAIN Project. This project, now in its fourth year of data collection, is focused on the neuromotor and neurocognitive performance changes experienced by post-collegiate female athletes who play collision sports.
Over the past four years, their research team has determined that sex-specific guidelines are necessary for female athletes when it comes to the Return to Play, Return to Learn and Return to Play guidelines. Their ongoing research to understand how to better prevent and treat concussion in female athletes now includes collecting bio markers and neuroimaging.
Niamh Briggs has been voted the Front Row Union Ireland Women Player of the Decade by 27,000 fans.
I’m shocked and delighted!!
I was so happy to make the team of the decade, never thought I’d win the player accolade, especially when you consider the caliber of the other girls across the board!
Proud to be nominated beside Ali and Molloy and it’s brought back some brilliant memories!!
Want to hear how @amycokayne came to play for @EnglandRugby having played football & thrown a javelin, her @RoyalAirForce career, playing in @Premier15s for @HarlequinsWomen and living in New Zealand.#NoOrdinaryJob #Talent #ThisGirlCan #WomenInSport https://t.co/yfP98DrxCM— RAF Rugby Union Women (@RAFRU_Women) February 24, 2021