Welcome to the top women’s rugby stories for Mar 1-7 beginning with the 2021 Rugby World Cup being pushed back a year due to the pandemic. It’s not all that surprising as we’ve been speculating for weeks this would occur.
With the World Cup being pushed back it means there should be room for the Six Nations to move from 4-rounds back to the normal 5-round tournament. We hope that change will be made.
World Rugby was also announced that the HSBC 7s Series will begin in May, take a break around the Olympics and conclude in December.
We also take a look at Round 14 of Allianz Premier 15s as well as rumors around international player caps, Spain’s Iberdrola is getting closer to playoffs and SANZAAR is considering adding a Women’s Rugby Championship.
We wrap up the week with 11 player features and 14 media.
Featured Women’s Rugby News
Two big annoucements from World Rugby this week, the 2021 Rugby World Cup is moved back a year due to the pandemic and HSBC 7s will take place starting in May, take a break for the Olympics and conclude in December.
Weekly Women’s Rugby News
- Red Roses Head Coach Simon Middleton weighs in on the Six Nations moving to their own window
- Scrum Queens points out that with the World Cup moving it means there is time to reinstate the original Six Nations format
- Wales appoints assistance coach Geraint Lewis and Sam Dodge as a Physical Performance Lead
- Round 14 Allianz Premier further tightened up the standings table and there was plenty of talk around potential International Player Caps
- Spain’s Iberdrola moves closer to playoffs
- England Community rugby hopes to return at the end of the March
- SANZAAR teases adding a women’s Rugby Championship
- WRCRA announces a virtual conference April 9 & 11; registration closes April 9
- World Rugby features Arab 7s
- Zimbabwe and Nigeria have representatives added to the Rugby Africa women’s rugby advisory sub-committee for leadership
Women’s Rugby Player Features
- Wales’ Alisha Butchers is highlighting an insurance gap for semi-professional players
- Dr Farah Palmer is looking to become the next New Zealand Rugby Chair
- England’s Shaunagh Brown is featured as a key female figure in the game by the Premiership
- Ireland’s Eimear Considine tells how she has gotten through the last year
- Africa’s Paule Ella Guei has received the Sports + Award in recognition of her work developing women’s rugby in the Ivory Coast
- Scotland’s Jade Konkel pauses her rugby career to become a firefighter
- Louise Burrows tells how having a changing room makes all the difference for the Canberra Royals female players
- Goffon Rugby adds Jocelyn Tseng to their All-Time American List
- Cheryl Wilson Leads The Way As First Female Chair Of Rugby At Dungannon RFC
- The Rugby Journal releases issue 13 featuring England’s Sarah Hunter, Wales Non Evans, Asia’s Unstoppable Mui Thomas and more
Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos
- BBC Sport has Florence Williams on to talk about LGBTQ History Month (with other fantastic guests)
- AJ Super Rugby hosted Africa’s Paulina Lanco for a twitter conversation (so insightful!)
- Asia Rugby talks with Asia’s Gaelle Olivier
- NE Free Jacks commentator Dallen Stanford chats with USA’s Kristi Kirshe
- Greaux Rugby Podcast hosts Ada Milby, President of Philippines Rugby Football Union
- We were honored to be a guest on the Women’s Rugby Pod along with England’s Sarah Hunter
- Eagles Overseas has USA’s Gabby Cantorna on
- Try Hards Podcast has England’s Danielle Waterman in stitches
- BBC Women’s Hour included England’s Maggie Alphonsi
- Fill Your Boots speaks with Jess Bunyard about launching Women’s Rugby Coaching
- Broken Trophy Podcast talks with Wales’ Keira Bevan about the RWC postponement
- Talking Rugby Union talks with Jessica Hayden also about the RWC postponement
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Two huge pieces from World Rugby this week, they’ve officially pushed back the World Cup and then announced that the HSBC 7s Series will occur this year.
Let’s start with the World Cup…it seemed like cruel destiny when WR announced that it would be the biggest attended event ever (during a pandemic??)… So they finally push it and most responses were positive (from teams) but we agree with the undertones that this is a straight up gender equity issue. If it was a men’s World Cup year, would it have been pushed? Maybe, but we can see with our own eyes that the men’s Six Nations remains unchanged and the Premiership continue without rule changes that the Premier 15s had. $$ is the difference.
On the 7s front, a compact HSBC 7s will take place this year including five women’s and four men’s rounds (two additional rounds are under discussion).
The 2021 Series kicks off with back-to-back women’s events in Marcoussis, Paris on 15-16 and 22-23 May. The Series will then take a break for the countdown to the Olympic Games and recommence with a men’s event in Singapore on 29-30 October, followed by joint men’s and women’s rounds in Hong Kong on 5-7 November, Dubai on 3-4 December, followed by an exciting climax in Cape Town on 10-12 December.
World Rugby is investing US$4 million into Olympic qualified unions’ sevens programs and towards the costs of hosting high-performance preparation events. One of those events is a joint women’s and men’s event in Los Angeles over the weekend of 25-27 June.
Simon Middleton, England’s head coach weighs in on the Six Nations moving to their own window.
It offers a great opportunity for us to attract a wider audience and an audience that’s more solely focused on the women’s game more than the game in general which tends to happen when the Six Nations is on and when we’re running alongside it. I think it’s a great opportunity and hopefully we can put a product out there that gets people to watch it and continue to watch in the future.
This year's @Womens6Nations was originally squeezed into a 4-week window because of the challenges in rescheduling the World Cup qualifiers. So now the World Cup is cancelled it should *surely* go back to being a 5-round Championship. We've asked those in charge if not, why not.— Scrumqueens - Women’s Rugby (@ScrumQueens) March 5, 2021
Scrum Queens rightly calls out that now that the World Cup has been pushed, there is no reason the Six Nations can’t go back to a 5-round Championship. Our fear is that if it doesn’t go back to 5 rounds, the 4 rounds will be declared a success and it will never go back.
With a year of missed rugby under most team’s belts, we shouldn’t be limiting matches but increasing them. We’re starting over the clock on preparing for the World Cup and our second fear is that the pandemic doesn’t go away and team’s continue to struggle to find matches.
Wales has added former back row Geraint Lewis and former Bristol Bears’ Athletic Performance Coach Sam Dodge to Warren Abrahams’ coaching team. Lewis joins as assistant coach (forwards) and Dodge will handle physical performance lead.
Round 14 only tightened the top 4 (really top 5) as Exeter upset Wasps 31-29. This win moves Exeter closer to the final four but Wasps hold on with 46 points to their 44.
Saracens remain at the top with 57 points, only one point over Harlequins with 56 and Loughborough sits in third with 53 points.
There are two matches this weekend but we’re looking to March 20 where Loughborough will play Wasps and Saracens host Exeter.
It's sad so many in this sport seem to hate rugby being played widely and bringing different people across the globe together. Exeter women signed a multi-national squad including Americans, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and now RFU want to crack down on them.https://t.co/mDtdIj1Y94— Tier 2 Rugby (@T2Rugby) February 24, 2021
Rumours that the RFU could limit the number of overseas players that can play in each Premier 15s side surfaced. A spokesperson from England Rugby said that “regulations and details on overseas players for the 2021/22 season are still being worked through”, but it is a proposal that has annoyed many in the women’s rugby community – not least Exeter Chiefs.
The Chiefs made no secrets about wanting to create a team that had the best talent in women’s rugby and it was a global search. It appears to be working as they are on a wining streak and a few points out of the top 4 of Premier 15s.
It’s not currently clear whether this legislation – which is still an unconfirmed proposal – will apply to Welsh, Scottish and Irish players playing their club rugby in England, although reports so far have suggested this will apply to “overseas” players.
Majadahonda leads the Iberdrola League and now has secured a place in the playoffs. The other teams in contention are Comp. Cisneros, U.S Sevilla CR, Avia Eibar RT with CRAT – UDC chasing.
England is looking to bring back community rugby at the end of March. This comes after another long lockdown due to the pandemic.
SANZAAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby is the body which oversees Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship competitions in rugby union) is looking to explore the potential for a women’s Rugby Championship.
Exciting but take it with a grain of salt, it was announced on International Women’s Day and performative acts are all the rage…
The 2021 WRCRA Conference is April 9 & 11 and will be held virtually this year. THey’ve announced the Keystone speaker, Rachel Simmons and the theme of Courage. Connection. Resilience.
World Rugby caught up with Farida Elzakzouk and Sarah Abd Elbaki following the recent Arab Sevens in Alexandria.
Zimbabwe’s Abigail Mnikwa and Nigeria’s Regina Grace Iyorhe have been appointed to the Rugby Africa women rugby advisory sub-committee for leadership, training and conferences.
Introducing issue 13, starring @EnglandRugby captain Sarah Hunter by Rugby Photographer of the Year portrait winner Lara Miller. Order yours at https://t.co/1FGv7xvQnH for big reads with @EllisGenge, @delonarmitage, @ChrisRobshaw, @NonEvans, @mui_thomas, @benjaminjohn91 and more pic.twitter.com/nUQQGMtPyX— Rugby Journal (@JournalRugby) March 2, 2021
'Let's use past lessons to create a better future'— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 1, 2021
Swimmer @MichaelGunning1, racing driver @GoCharlieM and rugby player @FlorenceW94 on why LGBT+ History Month matters and what sport can learn from it.
It has been an amazing three hours of informative, educative, insightful engagement with @PaulinaLanco on #RugbyTalk discussing "Growth Trends in Africa Rugby - future plans."— AjSuperRugby2021 (@AjSuperRugby) March 5, 2021
Thank you very much, Paula for spending time with us.
We love you.
It's a wrap! https://t.co/GxqmTFPMAw
Join us on #AsiaRugbyLive— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) March 2, 2021
When we to talk to Gaelle Olivier @gaelle_o
Asia Pacific CEO @SocieteGenerale on being #Unstoppable #TryandStopUs #TheFutureIsYou#AsiaRugby #WomenInRugby #IWD2021 #unstoppableasia #UnstoppableAmbassador #ChooseToChallenge @QaisUAE @adamilby pic.twitter.com/OS7tfmWwXG
'Rugby is not a gender, it's a sport.'— BBC Woman's Hour (@BBCWomansHour) March 1, 2021
Former rugby player and pundit @MaggieAlphonsi spoke to us about the sexist abuse @Sonjamclaughlan has faced on social media during the #SixNations and shares her own experiences https://t.co/KH5NpyPyoS pic.twitter.com/TMWAW41BsC
Sorry, not sorry... it's a long one this week.— Try Hards Podcast (@TheTryHardsPod) March 2, 2021
Series 3 - Episode 18: An hour of the finest coming to your pod places imminently.
Tune in to find out what @MissLJJ said to make @nolli15 lose it. pic.twitter.com/gcwPNkbJ2H
Asia Rugby Unstoppable Ambassador Safaa Tedjini from @qatarugby— Asia Rugby (@asiarugby) March 4, 2021
Selected from the TOP 32 Asia Unstoppables by an external Panel. @gaelle_o @SocieteGenerale
#unstoppableasia #WomenInAsia pic.twitter.com/FVSe6jfwyl