Welcome to the top women’s rugby news for April 26-May 2! We’re starting with the open letter that Scrum Queens penned about the vacancy on the powerful World Rugby Executive Committee. World Rugby has the opportunity to choose one of two highly qualified female candidates and they could go even further by choosing one that supports an emerging nation. Both are in short supply on the committee.
In XVs news, France hosted England in an exhibition match but it was cut short when the lights literally went out. The match was declared complete at 62 minutes with the win going to England 17-15. France has started an inquiry into the incident.
In 7s news, the fallout over former head 7s coach John Tait continues as players took to social media to express their grievances with the outcome of the 3rd party investigations. Through that we learned that 37 athletes signed on to the complaint. Tait actually replied to one of the player’s on Twitter calling this “gaslighting”. That tweet has since been removed and his account is now private.
We wrap up the week with lots of articles in our “other news” category, 11 player features and 8 media.
tl;dr: Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for Apr 26-May 2 looks at the upcoming World Rugby appointment to their Executive Committee, the exhibition match between France and England and the fallout in Canada continues.
Featured Women’s Rugby News
World Rugby will choose a new member for their powerful Executive Committee on May 6 with a public announcement on May 12. As we covered previously, there are three candidates, two women and 1 male. The stakes couldn’t be higher as World Rugby has just released their strategic plan and women’s rugby was a huge part of it.
Will they continue with their recent history and choose another male or will they actually try to achieve their goal of 40% female representation on all committees? We’re all waiting to see if they step up to the pitch.
Weekly Women’s Rugby News
- The World Rugby rankings had small shifts after the Six Nations but England remains on top followed closely by New Zealand and Canada
- France and England’s exhibition match was well hyped but everyone was let down when the lights went out at the 62nd minute. England was declared the winner 17-15…
- Wales continues to be in the spotlight and their leadership continues to try and pivot…
- The first ever Super Rugby women’s match didn’t disappoint as the Chiefs defeated the Blues 29-12
- Spain’s Ibedrola enters their second week of playoffs with CR Majadahonda still in the pole position
- Africa held round two of their Central Region 10s Championship, Blue Whales and Black Pearls were dominant again
- Lindenwood repeats as USA Rugby D1 Elite Women’s National Champion for the third time as they defeated Life 54-12
- The fallout in Canada continues as players take to social media to air grievances about the results of the investigation
- Tait replied to Ghislaine Landry calling the post “gaslighting”. That tweet has been removed and his account is now private
- The Six Nations final came in at just over 600,000 views and Brian Moore of Telegraph urges Unions to invest…it’s clear there is a market, but who will take advantage first?
- Talking of taking advantage, the support around the first ever women’s Super Rugby match was phenomenal but what happens next?
- Africa has launched the #AfricaAsOne campaign which will support their National Teams, it includes a 7s camp for the women
- New Zealand’s Vania Wolfgramm shares how the Ako Wahine Educator course aims to make more women feel comfortable in rugby
- USWRF is looking to continue their digital archiving and they need submissions from the 1990s and 2000s
Women’s Rugby Player Features
- Ireland’s Eve Higgins attributes her parents support for her success
- Ulster Rugby’s chief executive Jonny Petrie has insisted that developing the women’s game is a key part of the overall strategy for a province that has not won a women’s interprovincial game since 2012
- Wales’ Rebecca Davies discusses her journey in the game, from learning on the touchline to playing, coaching and embarking on a career in administration
- England’s Shaunagh Brown shares what wining the first ever Six Nations Final means
- Ireland’s Lindsey Peat is featured by The 42
- Sophie De Goede, Alysha Corrigan and others making the most of “incredible experience” in Premier 15s
- Blues assistant Cheryl Smith excited by Super Rugby opportunity
- Ireland’s Dorothy Wall not fazed by great expectations as she plans to power on
- France’s Jessy Trémouliere shares with World Rugby what her selection on the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Players’ Committee means
- Great Britain’s Emma Uren shares her journey from Olympic Swimmer to Rugby
Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos
- Women’s Rugby Pod has Ali Donnelly and Sara Orchard on as they select their Six Nations Team of the Tournament
- RTE Sport has Ireland’s Lynne Cantwell on to talk about her hopes for the Irish
- Patricia Maliepo scores the first ever women’s Super Rugby try
- Squidge Rugby breaks down how England won the 2021 Six Nations
- Off the Ball breaks down the Six Nations with Lynne Cantwell
- Women’s Sports Alliance rounds up the Six Nations with Nick Heath
- Eamonn Hogan concludes his series looking at the 2014 Rugby World Cup Champions
- Great Britain’s 7s shares 60 seconds with Abbie Brown
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OPEN LETTER: We've penned a letter to @WorldRugby Council members ahead of their vote for the slot on their ExCo, which is made up atm of 10 men & 1 woman, urging them to seize the moment & make good on their commitments to advancing women in rugby— Scrumqueens - Women’s Rugby (@ScrumQueens) April 26, 2021
More ➡️ https://t.co/negkMzk0we pic.twitter.com/JK30uL1crQ
Our featured women’s rugby news this week centers around the upcoming vote on May 6 (and the announcement on May 12) for a vacant position on World Rugby’s powerful Executive Committee.
Scrum Queens pens an open letter to the ExCo asking that they strongly consider electing a woman to the opening. This would go a long way to showing that World Rugby does support women’s rugby and would help them work towards a goal of 40% of female representation on committees.
Rugby World joins the call as well pointing out that “should Flores or Milby win the election, it will not only move World Rugby closer to its own target of having at least 40% female representation on committees (although still a fair way off) but it will give a greater voice to emerging nations.”
Both Scrum Queens and Rugby World point out that this is an opportunity for World Rugby to back up their progressive words with actions. But will they do it?
Home wins for Six Nations champions England, Ireland and Scotland lead to little change in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings. England remains on top with 94.68 points, New Zealand is in second with 93.88 and Canada remains in third with 87.49 points.
Game is confirmed OVER. Extraordinary. https://t.co/loB1kBl55G— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) April 30, 2021
The exhibition match played the weekend after the Six Nations final between England and France did occur. While both nations encouraged fans to watch the match on BBCiPlayer, their social media accounts participated in the blackout so there were no live updates.
Perhaps a blessing as at the 62nd minute the lights went out in Lille and the match was abandoned with a score of France 15 England 17. Who forgot to change the timer for the lights??? So embarrassing…
“The French Rugby Federation (FFR) is awaiting explanations from the stadium operator, responsible for the continuity of operation of the facilities and technical equipment of the enclosure.” Source
Welsh rugby chief promises investment in 'exhausted' women's team after flood of criticism following Six Nations whitewash https://t.co/68JCYHEt97— WalesOnline Rugby (@WalesRugby) April 29, 2021
Wales continues to be under the spotlight and WRU Chief executive Steve Phillips keeps insisting they will invest in the women’s game.
“We will invest in it and what we’ve got to do now is have a – I’ll use the words carefully – we’re going to have a check-in on our strategy.
“We are not moving away from our position that we are going to invest into the women’s game.”
Sounds like lots of talk and not much actions out of the Wales camp…
In the first ever Super Rugby women’s match, the Chiefs defeated the Blues 39-12. The first every try was scored by Blues Patricia Malipeo!
Iberdrola began their playoffs and U.S. Sevilla, Sanse Sc, CRAT, CR Majadahonda all move on to the next round taking place on 5/9.
Round Two of the Central Region Women’s 10s Rugby Championship was a repeat of the first round as Blue Whales and Black Pearls dominated proceedings again.
Lindenwood repeats for the third time taking down life 54-12 in the USA Rugby D1 Elite Women’s National Championship.
More on the extraordinary & worrying story playing out in Canada where 37 players have accused @RugbyCanada of failing them following their complaints of bullying & harassment. Serious issues need to be addressed here.— Scrumqueens - Women’s Rugby (@ScrumQueens) April 28, 2021
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The fallout over former head coach John Tait in Canada continues as players took to social media to air their grievances over the 3rd party investigation. With that we learned that 37 players signed onto the complaint. Canada is sticking to their guns though:
“The investigator noted the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the 37 NSW7s athletes. However, the investigator determined that the conduct referenced was not behaviour which fell within the policy’s definition of harassment or bullying.
The investigator also concluded, in agreement with both parties, that it would not be viable for John Tait to resume his duties as head coach of the National Senior Women’s 7s. Mr. Tait has submitted his resignation as both head coach and high-performance director to Rugby Canada to pursue other professional opportunities.
To protect the interests of all involved and to maintain confidentiality, Rugby Canada is unable to make further comment on investigative or human resource matters.”
Ghislaine Landry was the first to drop the note on social media and Tait actually replied. As the tweet has since been removed and his tweets are now private we’ve written it out below.
“Gaslighting. The new policy would have found same as old one, complaints unfounded.” Jon Tait on Twitter
Also, Karl Fix, former Rugby Canada chair and long term financial backer of the union has posted questions on Instagram and demanded that the independent investigation be removed…
Brian Moore writes for Telegraph that Unions should invest in the game and they will reap the rewards. The Six Nations final had peak viewership of 600k which is pretty impressive for being available in only a few countries and on premier channels in the US.
Andrew Voerman of Stuff NZ urges Super Rugby and New Zealand to keep the momentum going after the Chiefs vs Blues match. The buildup to the match was phenomenal, the match was great and the post coverage was great. Where do we go now?
Can there be a Super Rugby competition without hurting the Dr Farah Palmer Cup…seems there could be a way!
Africa has launched the #AfricaAsOne campaign along with a Women’s 7s Solidarity Camp. The camp will be from April 29 to May 9 and will include tournaments. Watch live on Rugby Africa’s social media.
“We’ve taken that same concept and moulded it and made it real specific for women,” Wolfgramm told World Rugby.
“For me, it needed to be broader than just coaches. I’ve been in courses that are very specific to coaches and in the women’s game I believe we really need to grow those opportunities but [also] the capability of our women in those current roles, of which we don’t have many.
“So, if we look at the coaches and then it’s administrators, managers and referees. So, we went to a specific, wider and broader realm and we also invited a few other people from other codes.
“I think if we take a step back, the thinking is if we manage to open the door to women and they come through, and those environments are set up for them, they can relate to the presenters and they know it’s specifically for them.
“Then, we get them through the door, [and] we would be able to provide them with some upskilling education around those roles.”
Last year the USWRF launched a three-year project to gather, digitize and archive the artifacts and stories of women’s rugby in the United States. They’ve collected over 7,000 pieces but need more! They have strong representation from the 70s and 80s but need support for the 90s and 2000s.
"It's just so competitive and there's so many smart people there, just to challenge you in every aspect of the game."@SaracensWomen's Canadian contingent are testing themselves against some of the best players in the world on a weekly basis— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) April 26, 2021
Former Ireland international Lynne Cantwell hopes the IRFU gets on board with World Rugby's vision of a thriving future for the women's game | Watch or listen to the latest episode of #WeBecomeHeroes with @mariecrowe here: https://t.co/aWJQxnzmPf pic.twitter.com/wONW4evAil— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) April 27, 2021
@Womens6Nations Round-Up with WSA Ambassador @nickheathsport.— Women’s Sports Alliance (@WSportsAlliance) April 27, 2021
Find out what title @marliepacker was crowned, the pressure felt by @katmerchant14 to promote the women's game, and what is needed to make the 2022 World Cup more competitive.https://t.co/ScYrtgsDX7 pic.twitter.com/FyU5nZPD74
Heading into the world cup cycle, what can the players do to set themselves up for success?@cantwelll is LIVE with @ValerieWheeler_@GuinnessIreland – Proud partner of the Irish Rugby Team | #NeverSettle— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 29, 2021
Drink responsibly. Visit https://t.co/4AMvUvF5Pt https://t.co/ARLYzytGik
NEW VIDEO: The 2021 title came down, once again, to one of the finest fixtures in test rugby, as England and France played out as good a low-scoring game as you'll see. So how did the Red Roses see it out, and seal a third straight title?https://t.co/hwLU2ICj8f pic.twitter.com/WsFzlM3v4C— Squidge Rugby (@SquidgeRugby) April 29, 2021