Welcome to the top women’s rugby news for May 3-9! We begin with an eye towards the Olympics as Great Britain, France, Ireland, USA, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Madagascar, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa have held or will be holding events to continue preparing for the Repechage or the Games. We also continue our coverage of Canada who announced that several female players have contracted COVID and training has been suspended.
In XVs news, Allianz Premier wrapped up Round 18, Russia and New Zealand have announced plans for new competitions, France looks to remodel their Elite 1 & 2 divisions, South Africa’s Premier Division kicked off and Princeton University in the US has elevated their program to Varsity status.
In “Other News”, Girls Rugby Club is activating an advisory council made up of girls aged nine to 18 (so cool!), the US Rugby Foundation has announced the 2021 US Rugby Hall of Fame and the finalists for the US MA Sorensen Award have been confirmed.
We wrap up the week with 11 player features and 9 media.
tl;dr: Under the Posts – Women’s Rugby News for May 3-9 looks at team’s preparations ahead of the Olympics, Russia and New Zealand have announced plans for new competitions and the 2021 US Rugby Hall of Fame nominees are revealed.
Featured Women’s Rugby News
As we get closer to the Olympics lots of teams are in training camps or organizing tournaments. Africa has held several camps with Kenya, Madagascar,Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Great Britain is hosting a tournament with France and Ireland. Spain was in camp from May 3-6 and New Zealand has announced a series of tournaments with Australia May 21-23.
The IOC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pfizer to donate doses of their vaccine to Game Participants. The vaccine won’t be required for athletes but is highly encouraged.
Weekly Women’s Rugby News
- Africa’s Central Region 10s Championship had an incredible plot twist as the winners of the two previous rounds were upset. Eventual winners Avengers and Black Diamonds won Tiers 1 and 2 respectively.
- Allianz Premier 15s wrapped Round 18 and looks towards the semi-finals of Harlequins vs Wasps and Saracens vs Loughborough on May 22
- Russia has announced they will launch a domestic XVs competition for the first time
- South Africa’s Premier Division opened with wins by Boland Dames, Border Ladies and EP Queens
- France is looking to remodel their Elite 1 & 2 divisions to be more balanced competitively and to align more closely with the International calendar
- New Zealand is committed to launching a new semi-professional elite women’s competition that wouldn’t interfere with the existing Dr Farah Palmer Cup
- The USA College Rugby Association announced their Fall College Championships
- World Rugby shares their seven best players in Rugby World Cup 7s history
- Players are speaking out about the Canada 7s investigation into former Head Coach John Tait
- Canada announced that several 7s female players have contracted COVID and training is suspended
- Princeton University has elevated their program to Varsity status beginning in 2022-23
- Girls Rugby Club has put together an Advisory Council of girls from age nine to 18, they will also receive mentorship along with learning opportunities and chances to connect with like-minded peers
- The US Rugby Foundation has announced the 2021 US Rugby Hall of Fame inductees and award recipients
- Finalists confirmed for the USA MA Sorensen Award
- We made over our sites homepage to focus on our weekly Under the Posts and social media
Women’s Rugby Player Features
- Wales’ Lisa Neumann & Bethan Dainton share their experiences at the Six Nations
- Ireland’s Amanda Greensmith heralds the IRFU’s Women’s Development Pathway system as providing top-level talent for Ireland Head Coach Adam Griggs and the National Team
- France’s Annick Hayraud reflects on her side’s Women’s Six Nations 2021 campaign as they prepare for the upcoming Rugby World Cup
- Australia’s Ellia Green is an Ambassador at community rugby pride games and shared that her role includes being a peer role model to deliver education and call out harmful language
- World Rugby caught up with new Kazakhstan Rugby president Aigul Jartybayeva to discuss her hopes for the role
- England’s Amy Wilson Hardy talks about being a vegetarian and an Olympic athlete
- Trinidad and Tobago’s Dr. Dalia Jordan-Brown shares her medical journey in rugby
- Richmond’s Kristy-Lee Griffiths shares her journey in sport
- Australia’s Chloe Dalton shares her recovery from a back injury and her hopes for pulling on the gold jersey again
- Fiji’s Timaima Ravisa hopes to be on the Rugby World Cup squad next year
Women’s Rugby Media/Podcasts/Videos
- An amazing video shared by Amy McCann about Colombia football shows a possible path for equality
- England shares the final episode of O2 Inside Line: Red Roses
- Sportside announce Wasps’ Flo Williams as podcast host
- Allianz Premier 15s looks back on the season
- World Rugby 7s highlights mom ruggers
- Women’s Rugby Pod has England’s Simon Middleton on to talk about selection headaches, the World Cup being pushed back and predictions for Premier 15s
- Guinness Six Nations looks back at why England’s Poppy Cleal was selected as Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship
- Great Britain 7s shares episode 7 of Mission:Possible
- Blood, Sweat, & Beers talks with TikTok Queen USA’s Ilona Maher
We will be hosting 'International Rugby 7s' as an Olympic preparation event from 15-17 May 🙌— GB Rugby Sevens (@GBRugbySevens) May 7, 2021
The tournament will take place at St. George’s Park and will feature USA, Ireland and France 🏉
All streamed 𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙀 🎥 Find out more here 📲 https://t.co/eVwwXVqveq pic.twitter.com/udMcq9sg79
As part of the plans to ensure safe and secure @Tokyo2020, the IOC has signed an MoU with Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world.https://t.co/Ne3sLgM1se— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) May 6, 2021
We’re seeing lots of teams ramp up their efforts ahead of the Olympics this summer:
- Africa held several Solidarity Camps over the weekend, the Tunis camp included teams from Madagascar, Tunisia and Kenya. Kenya has qualified for the Olympics but Madagascar and Tunisia will play in the repechage. It should be noted that Kenya left the camp early due to COVID concerns.
- The camp in Cape Town included Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa
- Great Britain is hosting an ‘International Rugby 7s’ event May 15-17. It will be a closed door event with the event streamed in full on England Rugby channels. Teams include France, Ireland and Great Britain.
- Spain held a quick camp from May 3-6 and is looking forward to the European Championships in June
- New Zealand announced a series with Australia in Auckland to take place May 21-23
- Meanwhile, the IOC “announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will work with their local governments to coordinate local distribution in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations.”
Africa’s Central Region Women’s 10s Championship had an incredible plot twist as the winners of the two previous rounds were upset in the finals. The Avengers and Black Diamonds won the round’s trophies in tiers 1 and 2 after upsetting Black Pearls and Blue Whales respectively.
For the final round of the regular season, all Allianz Premier 15s teams were in action, Harlequins went on the road to beat DMP Durham Sharks, Loughborough Lightning overcame a stern Sale Sharks test, Wasps scored 10 tries at Twyford Avenue to beat Bristol Bears, Saracens scored their 100th try of the season against Worcester Warriors as they left Sixways victorious and Gloucester-Hartpury rallied in the second half against Exeter Chiefs in order to head back to the West Country triumphant.
The league now turns to their Semi-finals where Harelquins will see Wasps and Saracens will face Loughborough on May 22. The Championship will be May 30 at Gloucester’s ground.
1 other big dev at the weekend - Russia announced plans to launch its first ever domestic XVs tournament, showing that the WXV programme really is something for European team outside the 6 Nations to build towards.https://t.co/uYDoZOdySf pic.twitter.com/23u4EN5sLd— Scrumqueens - Women’s Rugby (@ScrumQueens) May 4, 2021
The Russian Rugby Federation has announced plans to launch a domestic XVs tournament. The tournament is part of a 10-year strategy for rugby in Russia which aims to make rugby one of the top three team sports in country by 2031, with a target of 1.5 milli
South Africa opened their Women’s Premier Division, with the three coastal sides getting into their stride early with good victories. DHL Western Province, the defending champions scored a runaway victory against Boland Dames 38-6, Border Ladies secured a 17-11 home win over Blue Bulls and EP Queens registered a 13-5 away-win against the Cell C Sharks.
France is looking to revamp their Elite 1 and 2 divisions so they more closely aligns with the International calendar. They would balance the two divisions to have 12 teams each and work to ensure both are as competitive as possible.
New Zealand Rugby has committed to launching a new, semi-professional elite women’s competition in 2022. This new competition would be in addition to the Dr Farah Palmer Cup.
A four-team competition featuring sides aligned to the three North Island Super Rugby franchises, as well as one representing the South Island, would appear to be the most likely outcome, as signalled by NZR chief executive Mark Robinson in March.
College Rugby Association of American (CRAA) announces plans for Fall USA College Championships and D1A Bowl Series, December 4-5. Matches to include Fall Championships for Women’s D1 and Women’s D2 (ACRA), Men’s D1AA and potentially additional divisions, all hosted at Mecklenburg County Sportsplex in Charlotte, NC.on players and national teams in “leading positions in all areas”.
World Rugby lays out seven of the best players in Rugby World Cup 7s history:
- Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
- Santiago Gomez Cora (Argentina)
- Ghislaine Landry (Canada)
- Eric Rush (New Zealand)
- Waisale Serevi (Fiji)
- Marika Vunibaka (Fiji)
- Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
Rugby Canada announced today that some members of the National Women’s 7s program have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing mandatory travel quarantine. https://t.co/EcQrkR3DcB pic.twitter.com/1rr7LjyYC8— YSCRugby - Women's Rugby 🏉🏳️⚧️✊ (@yscrugby) May 7, 2021
Canadian rugby sevens player Pamphinette Buisa says the recent resignation of head coach John Tait is merely a “reflection of a rotten organizational culture.”
The reason why we came forward was not to just have someone leave. That would miss the entire point. The point was to stand up and to show that this is a bigger issue. That someone leaving is a symptom of a bigger issue,” Buisa
As more comes out about the player’s and the investigation, Rugby Canada announced this week that some members of the National Women’s 7s program have tested positive for COVID-19 while completing mandatory travel quarantine. Most are currently asymptomatic, and all athletes and staff are in good health. All upcoming training activities have been cancelled as the team enters additional quarantine and isolation protocols.
Princeton announced its intention to add women’s rugby as a varsity sport beginning during the 2022-23 academic year. Princeton has sponsored a highly-successful women’s club rugby program since 1979, twice winning the national championship.
💬 "I might have an idea, and I might have an opinion, but I'm not 14 anymore and things have moved on." @HarlequinsWomen and @EnglandRugby legend @RachaelBurf12 on the 15 new experts advising @GirlsRugbyClub— Her Sport (@HerSportUK) May 4, 2021
✍️ Sportsbeat's @rae_steinberghttps://t.co/WTGgAIUMUi
As part of her global Girls Rugby Club, Rachael Burford has drafted a starting XV of young female rugby leaders from across the UK. The first cohort, announced in April, comprises girls aged nine to 18 who will act as an advisory council while also receiving mentorship, learning opportunities and a chance to connect with like-minded peers.
“We just had a meeting now talking about what clothing impacts them, you know, not suitable for them to be wearing as girls,” Burford said. “How do they want their coaches to approach them around menstrual cycles?
“We want to really understand how girls think and feel, so then we can help support and put that information out there, so that all the rugby clubs around the world who have girls’ rugby can access this information to better support their players and their club environment.
“We need to hear from them because I might have an idea, and I might have an opinion, but I’m not 14 anymore and things have moved on and they have changed.”
The United States Rugby Foundation announced the US Rugby Hall of Fame Class of 2021 and special award recipients today:
- Alatini Saulala
- Mike McDonald
- Phaidra Knight
- Kevin O’Brien
- Tristan Lewis
- Wilbert “Salty” Thompson
- Ed Todd
- Todd Clever
- Jeremy Glick
- Mark Bingham
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Bob Hoder
The finalists for the MA Sorensen Award have been confirmed:
- Susan Adegoke, Life University
- Richelle Stephens, Lindenwood University
- Kathryn Stowers, BYU
- Keia Mae Sagapolu, Central Washington
Did you see our homepage makeover? We’ve changed it to better share our weekly ‘Under the Posts’ news as well as our larger presence on Twitter.
The Welsh Shark who took a big bite out the @Womens6Nations@SaleSharksWomen's @LisaNeumann93 tells @FraserMercsport about life as a @SaleSharksRugby player with @WelshRugbyUnion— Dai Sport (@Dai_Sport_) May 4, 2021
Lisa Neumann . . . The Shark Who Makes Sure ... https://t.co/p4OGAlq9cS via @Dai_Sport_
Can @Amywilsonhardy engineer a Vege-Focussed diet capable of an Olympic medal?— Claudia macdonald (@cf_macdonald) May 4, 2021
Have a read of our 'interview' and hear about why Amy is a Vege (In this case Dad is always right), and why it's sometimes necessary to be flexible, and that's ok too. https://t.co/f15EfTLiac pic.twitter.com/0CnkYr8c3t