Italy Triumphs in Latin Challenge, Gwalia Lightning Leads Celtic Challenge and Belgium’s XVs Revival | WRR 135

Welcome to the Women’s Rugby Rundown for Dec 18-Jan 7.In the recently established Latin Challenge, Italy secured victories in both matches with Round 2 taking place on the weekend of February 10. Gwalia Lightning leads the Celtic Challenge, with the Wolfhounds, Clovers, and Edinburgh closely trailing after two rounds. Three matches in the Energia AIL Cup have been forfeited due to the effects of the Celtic Challenge and the upcoming Six Nations, as several players’ involvement in these events poses challenges for the Cup’s fixture schedule. This weekend, Spain’s CR Majadahonda is set to face Portugal in the Iberian Cup. After securing the last place in WXV 3, Colombia is gearing up for a crucial playoff against the Netherlands on March 16 to determine their participation in the tournament. Sally Horrox, Chief of Women’s Rugby at World Rugby, reflected on the progress in the women’s game and anticipates a landmark Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025. The Belgian XVs team has been “relaunched” with plans for two games against Germany, an increased budget, and the goal of promotion to the European Championship by 2026, and Scrum Queens highlighted 2023 as a record year for international XVs rugby, with 98 official test matches, significant growth in age-group fifteens internationals and non-test status games, totaling 150 matches and marking an unparalleled year for the format.

In Premier & Club news, Llandaff North continues their unbroken streak in the Welsh Premiership. Saracens maintained the lead in the Allianz PWR while Gloucester-Hartpury also sustained their undefeated record in Round 7. The Big Game 15 on December 30 between the Quins and Gloucester-Hartpury set a World Record for attendance at a women’s Club match for the third consecutive year, attracting 16,237 attendees. Bordeaux and Toulouse lead their pools in France’s Elite 1. HKFC Natixis Ice maintains the lead in Nan Fung Group | Sewit Hong Kong Premiership. Spain’s Iberdrola is on break until this weekend, with CR Majadahonda leading after 4 Rounds. Italy’s Series A Elite also returns this weekend with Valsugana Padova in the lead. Before officially starting on March 15, Australia’s Super W has arranged trial games as part of their preseason preparations, and Scottish Rugby announced the draw for the Women’s Cup competition set to commence in the New Year.

In 7s news, the pools for the inaugural round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 in Dubai, scheduled for January 12-14, have been revealed. Additionally, PR 7s is set to conduct a Talent ID Trial in Kansas City, KS on January 28, and, Scrum Queens conducted an analysis of more than 800 international 7s matches in 2023, revealing a return to game levels reminiscent of those seen in 2019.

We close out the week with 22 features, 12 media, and 5 rugby jobs.

tl;dr: In the Women’s Rugby Rundown for Dec 18-Jan 7, Italy triumphed in both matches of the Latin Challenge, while Gwalia Lightning leads the Celtic Challenge, matches in the Energia AIL Cup have been forfeited due to the impacts of the Celtic Challenge and the upcoming Six Nations. Spain’s CR Majadahonda faces Portugal in the Iberian Cup, and Colombia prepares for a playoff against the Netherlands in WXV 3. In Premier & Club news, Saracens and Gloucester-Hartpury maintain undefeated records, the Big Game 15 sets a world attendance record, and various leagues showcase exciting developments. In 7s news, the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 pools are announced, PR 7s plans a Talent ID Trial, and Scrum Queens analyzes a record breaking year of International XVs and 7s matches.

Women’s Rugby Rundown Video Update

@yscrugby

In the Women’s Rugby Rundown for Dec 18-Jan 7, Italy triumphed in both matches of the Latin Challenge, while Gwalia Lightning leads the Celtic Challenge, matches in the Energia AIL Cup have been forfeited due to the impacts of the Celtic Challenge and the upcoming Six Nations. Spain's CR Majadahonda faces Portugal in the Iberian Cup, and Colombia prepares for a playoff against the Netherlands in WXV 3. In Premier & Club news, Saracens and Gloucester-Hartpury maintain undefeated records, the Big Game 15 sets a world attendance record, and various leagues showcase exciting developments. In 7s news, the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 pools are announced, PR 7s plans a Talent ID Trial, and Scrum Queens analyzes a record breaking year of International XVs and 7s matches. Watch our video & read all the news using the link in our bio! #womensrugbyrundown #rugby #womensrugby #wrugby

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Women’s Rugby Rundown News

XVs

International

  • In the recently established Latin Challenge between Spain and Italy, Italy emerged victorious in both matches [link]
    • Iberians Valencia 13 Zebre Parma 19
    • Iberians Sitges 12 Benetton Treviso 19
  • Gwalia Lightning leads the Celtic Challenge by a slight lead in points differential but is chased by the Wolfhounds, Clovers and Edinburgh after 2 Rounds [link]
    • There are rumors that the Celtic Challenge and the upcoming Six Nations has had adverse effects on the Energia AIL Cup as multiple players are missing from their Club fixtures [link]
  • Spain’s CR Majadahonda will face off against Portugal in the Iberian Cup this weekend [link]
  • Following their last-place finish in WXV 3, Colombia is set to engage in a playoff against the Netherlands on March 16 [link]
  • Sally Horrox, Chief of Women’s Rugby at World Rugby, reflects on the progress being made in the women’s game and looks ahead to what promises to be a landmark Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2025 [link]
  • France is holding two training camps to prepare for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations [link]
  • Brazil is also hosting training camps as they continue preparations for qualifying for the 2025 Rugby World Cup [link]
  • The Belgian XVs team was “relaunched” this week, with two games against Germany planned for next year, a larger budget, and a target of promotion to the European Championship by 2026 [link]
  • Scrum Queens highlighted 2023 as a record year for international XVs rugby, with 98 official test matches, significant growth in age-group fifteens internationals and non-test status games, totaling 150 matches and marking an unparalleled year for the format [link]

Premier & Club

  • Llandaff North continues their unbroken streak in the Welsh Premiership but is chased by Seven Sisters, Pontyclun, and Caereinion Obra [link]
  • Saracens maintain their lead in the Allianz PWR, securing victory over Sale Sharks in Round 7 while Gloucester-Hartpury also sustained their undefeated record, triumphing over Loughborough Lightning [link]
    • Big Game 15 between the Quins and Gloucester-Hartpury on December 30 broke the World Record for attendance at a Women’s Club match for the third year running with 16,237 attendees [link]
  • Bordeaux continues to lead their pool in France’s Elite 1 with 18 points while Toulouse leads their pool with 19 points [link]
  • HKFC Natixis ice continues to lead Nan Fung Group | Sewit Hong Kong Premiership after 8 Rounds [link]
  • Spain’s Iberdrola is still on break until this weekend but CR Majadahonda leads after 4 rounds [link]
  • Italy’s Serie A Elite also returns this weekend with Valsugana Padova ASD in the lead [link]
  • Before officially starting on March 15, Australia’s Super W has arranged trial games as part of their preseason preparations [link]
  • Scottish Rugby has announced the draw for the Women’s Cup competition which will commence in the New Year [link]

7s

International

  • The pools have been announced for the opening round of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2024 in Dubai on January 12-14 [link]
  • PR 7s is holding a Talent ID Trial in Kansas City, KS on January 28 [link]
  • Scrum Queens dove into over 800 international sevens matches in 2023 [link]

Women’s Rugby Rundown Features

  • Australia previewed 12 breakout stars to watch in 2024 [link]
  • World Rugby interviewed Colombia’s new Director of High Performance Luis Pedro Archard about the challenges for the country and looking forward to a WXV playoff match against Netherlands [link]
  • “Excited” Jo Yapp aiming to drive Wallaroos forward [link]
  • Coverage, accessibility, competitiveness, and performance: just a handful of ways Claire Thomas
    wants to see the women’s game and the PWR push on in 2024 [link]
  • Tavaita Rowati, Fiji’s aspiring female rugby coach is rewriting history and empowering the next generation for women in rugby [link]
  • Queensland Reds appointed Grant Anderson as their new head coach ahead of the 2024 season [link]
  • The Force are putting together an imposing squad for their Super W title run, backing up their Wallaroos signings with further additions of Black Ferns duo Pia Tapsell and Sheree Hume [link]
  • LifeLoveRugby profiles Sydney Copeland, a potential new USA Eagle on the rise [link]
  • USA’s Ilona Maher proudly shared her cellulite as an Olympian and Professional Athlete [link]
  • Wales rugby stars Jasmine Joyce and Alisha Butchers have got married in a stunning ceremony in Pembrokeshire [link]
  • As part of Saracen’s 35th anniversary celebrations, they looked back at the history of the women [link]
  • We profiled USA’s Jessica Lu as part of our “Pioneers of the Pitch” series [link]
  • Wales lock Natalia John says Welsh rugby has been over-dependent on English women’s clubs to develop its players and hopes to see the establishment of professional sides in her homeland [link]
  • How did Lizzie Hanlon go from diving to playing for the Exeter Chiefs? [link]
  • US Women’s Rugby Foundation Presents the Kathy Flores Award – Class of 2024 [link]
  • Vikki Wall’s Olympic challenge of starting from scratch at the top tier of a third sport [link]
  • “People know who we are” – Bok flyhalf Libbie Janse van Rensburg says the game is on the rise [link]
  • Canada will induct Sherry Trumbull, Andra Burk, Jen Kish, Julianna Zussman among other honorees [link]
  • World Rugby spoke with Croatia women’s head coach Petra Druskovic about their new beginning as a team and her hopes for the future of rugby in the region [link]
  • Why is Mummy so Muddy – written and illustrated by Dundee Rugby Club Valkyries player Sally Myles [link]
  • Daisy Hibbert-Jones, Emily Tuttosi, and Emily Chancellor share some powerful personal stories in ‘WXV: Deep Meaningful Conversations’ [link]
  • We highlighted USA and Rugby World Cup Legend Krista McFarren in our “Pioneers of the Pitch” series [link]

Women’s Rugby Rundown Media

  • Squidge has released a few of their ‘Team of the Year’ videos with more to come! [link]
  • Ahead of Round 7, Trailfinder’s Director of Rugby Giselle Mather spoke about establishing the club [link]
  • WRP 168 discusses the Celtic Challenge, PWR, and more [link]
  • After her sister, Sam, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Vickii Cornborough is planning the Brave the Shave and raise funds for three charities [link]
  • We previewed 2024 and all the various “big” events that are highly anticipated [link]
  • WOMENZSPORTS and Alice Soper started a pordcast focused on women’s sports across Aotearoa New Zealand [link]
  • PWR Chief Executive Belinda Moore speaks on the growth of the league at an exciting time for the sport [link]
  • Rooster Chicken Fijian Drua women’s player Siteri Rasolea believes her confidence and passion led her to make the significant decision to come home and be part of Fijiana Drua [link]
  • Scott Bemand wants to awaken ‘sleeping giant’ of Ireland’s women’s rugby [link]
  • Aseza Hele reveals how a fateful trip into the South African outback changed her life forever on The Good, The Scaz And the Rugby [link]
  • Learn more about Zoe Harrison’s rugby journey [link]
  • Girls Locker Room is a new content series from World Rugby, co-hosted by Maud Muir and Sadia Kabeya aimed specifically for girls talking all things wellbeing, health & more [link]

Rugby Jobs

  • Pittsburgh Forge is searching for General Directors of Rugby who will advance the club through administration, accounting, finance, fundraising and civic leadership [link]
  • Canada is hiring a Marketing & Promotions Coordinator and Vancouver Sevens Hospitality & Sponsorship Coordinator [link and link]
  • World Rugby is hiring for various positions ahead of the 2025 Rugby World Cup [link]
  • The Berkeley All Blues are looking to hire a WPL Assistant Forwards Coach [link]
  • The Twin Cities Amazons are searching for a WPL Head Coach and Assistants [link]

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