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The future of Womens XVs Rugby

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The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby rughetta » Wed, 16 Apr 2014, 18:35

Hi all,

with all the money thrown at VIIs rugby, it's especially the women's XVs rugby that suffers. How's the situation in your countries? Are the board etc aware of this propblem and what kind of strategies are used to strengthen the womens XV?

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby CraigChalmers » Wed, 16 Apr 2014, 20:16

In Scotland.. pretty dire TBH. Despite Scotland being one of (if not the?) only countries where XV's probably remains the priority. (Since we can't qualify for the Olympics for now, and can only contribute players to a GB team)

One solitary try in a heavy defeat to Italy makes even our men's performances this season look impressive.. It's just as well certain journalists don't follow the women's game, otherwise there would no doubt be much louder calls for us to be thrown out the championship. Calls that, right now, it would be impossible to argue with!

Though, to be fair, women's sport in general struggles here (we have a very good Women's football team - but most football fans don't even know it!). So are the SRU aware of the problems? You'd hope so (if Mark Dodson/Scott Johnson aren't too busy dreaming of RWC success next year..). What are they doing about it? Not much.. In fairness, they announced a raft of proposals for the game in general at the end of last year, key to which was the formation of an 8 team semi-professional top tier league, membership of which would be reliant on both on field performances and meeting off field criteria too; one of which was to have an active women's section (something many of our top clubs currently lack). However, sadly a number of clubs are going to vote against it purely because they have realised they won't be one of the 8 clubs, so nothing will change. The story of Scottish rugby, sadly..

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby grande » Wed, 16 Apr 2014, 22:35

I'm really worried that this will be the last Women's Rugby World Cup. Usually the next host has been announced by now...

I follow women's XVs more than most, probably (a big reason being Canada is one of the powerhouses in the sport). I hope it doesn't go the way of the dodo, but I think VIIs is much more attractive, commercially.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby NedRugby » Sat, 19 Apr 2014, 22:38

Holland havent played since april last year when they lost 3 WCQ matches. They are definately concentrating on 7s. FIRA dont seem to have any competitions organized for womans 15s at the moment. I tnink Canada are doing well in both 7 and 15 rugby, and they are one of the few teams who use some of the same players for both i think maybe that has something to do with it.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby mestre » Sun, 20 Apr 2014, 00:10

I have asked this before, but maybe too soon for the coming WRWC.
Any information on phtographer accreditation?
Rugby in Portugal: http://www.maodemestre.com/

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby grande » Sun, 20 Apr 2014, 15:44

NedRugby wrote:Holland havent played since april last year when they lost 3 WCQ matches. They are definately concentrating on 7s. FIRA dont seem to have any competitions organized for womans 15s at the moment. I tnink Canada are doing well in both 7 and 15 rugby, and they are one of the few teams who use some of the same players for both i think maybe that has something to do with it.


I'm not sure if FIRA-AER organizes it, but there is a European tournament this year: http://www.scrumqueens.com/news/2014-eu ... hy-details

It's always a smaller affair during World Cup years.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby NedRugby » Mon, 21 Apr 2014, 10:21

Interesting. I couldnt find anything about it on the fira website. I think those will be first competition matches for Dutch woman 15s for a year and a half, what is not really very much.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby grande » Mon, 21 Apr 2014, 13:17

That's a shame, since the Netherlands played the first ever women's international.

What's really disappointing is Australia... They haven't played a single game since the last Cup. As one of the leaders in the sport, they should be trying to tour more (or host other countries).

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby rughetta » Tue, 22 Apr 2014, 09:50

too bad germany can't take part in the trophy….

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby mulu » Tue, 22 Apr 2014, 14:20

rughetta wrote:too bad germany can't take part in the trophy….


In Germany even the finals of the domestic competition have to be played with a reduced number of players. It's a combination of a funding problem and lacking player numbers which caused the german union to stop it's 15s team. It has nothing to do with the 7s though, that's a myth.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby Tuksrugby » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 09:57

To even want to dicuss the future of Women's XVs, on would have to take into account all the factors that played a role in the game up to now. That means looking at the general view from the administrators first of all, which includes the conservative male dominated past (and present) of the sport. You also have to take into consideration the general view of the female population and what they might see as acceptable for them to compete in. (For example, I know of a quite a few players that prefer to play sevens only, but some are forced to play fifteens by the union. Some go ahead and play fifteens, just so that they are not rejected by the group)

All of this will also depend of the background of the game in the specific country and the history in general. I am from South Africa and because of that, from a reasonably conservative rugby system, where men's fifteens is seen as the ultimate. After that you get the men's seven's and only after that you get the women's fifteens (In their view) and only after that the women's sevens. The reality however is that many players from the fifteens game are not even close to the levels of conditioning required for sevens and therefore the fifteens are in reality at a much lower level than the sevens. Mainly due to a lack of numbers and the best fifteens players are used for the sevens after our fifteens season stops.

Then you should also add the general views of the population of the various countries and the South African culture is still very much male dominated (much like many countries in South America). To get television coverage for the women's game, you have to sell an idea to the broadcasters, from the start every time. Compare this to Australia for example, where the women actually get reasonable (not great) support from the broadcasters. The general conservative closed-minded public in fact frown apon women playing a contact sport. (For men, the broadcasters pay millions to cover matches, but for women playing at some obscure venue, you have to beg the broadcasters to get one camera on-site...)

Then you have to add the money factor! In out club, the budget for the men is quite a few million rand (ZAR). The budget for the women is zero. Yes, you read that correctly, ZERO! The money we got over the past few years for our club team came from sponsors in other countries. (Reunion / France). And that money was specifically for the sevens team. Mainly because it is much cheaper to obtain funds for the expenses of 12 players and 1 coach (I still had to pay my own expenses if I went along as an assistant coach, and sometimes I had to pay extra to have a manager go along...). For fifteens you need to get enough funds for at least 25 players, and all the support staff. So it is easier to fund sevens.

Now, if you take into account these factors and many more that I did not mention, a lot needs to be done. We should look at building the popularity of the women's game in general first and the sevens version is the ideal vehicle to address this. But somehow, due to pre-conceived ideas, I doubt whether the fifteens will ever have the same popularity. At the same time, we must use the Olympic status of the sevens to promote the game in general. In order we to do this, we however need a concerted effort to promote the game and we need much more visibility (playing at the main venues just before the main matches for example).

Without promotion and visibility, we won't get the necessary sponsors and funds to accommodate players, but we will also not get enough players interested.

What we need is the development of a strategy at the highest level, before the women's game will grow to become self-sustained. In some cases, such as at our club, it is no use to rely on charity from the men (Milllions vs. ZERO), as it will accomplish very little.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby iul » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 12:15

Interesting post about this on reddit:

BZH_JJM wrote:Thanks to Title IX and the dominance of gridiron in America, I see women's rugby growing a lot in the States. Currently, the two big development goals for American rugby fans are a domestic professional league and NCAA recognition. Due to the huge number of men playing American football in college and the cost associated with it, and the Title IX requirement for equal sporting opportunities for women in educational settings, the NCAA is much closer to recognizing women's rugby than it is men's rugby.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby grande » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 13:45

It's the exact same way in Canada. There are lots of women interested in playing contact sports, but gridiron isn't played by women, in general (and when it is, it's done more for sex appeal than sport). The universities need to have an equal number of mens and womens sports, so rugby union fills the gap.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby johnbirch » Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 09:08

Its not that serious an issue that we have no host for the next WRWC after this year's, as this has always been the case - even last time round we did not know until about a year after the 2010 tournament.

A much, much more serious issue is that the WRWC's gap in the calendar has been lost with 2018 now being the date of the next 7s World Cup. The only logical alternative is 2017 - which is what Gary Street of England is expecting - but if so that really needs to be announced early as obviously there is a year less to make arrangements.

The problem is that we do no really know what is going on as the IRB never say anything about women's rugby unless and until ever last t has been crossed and i dotted. Like we all now know - and the participating unions and players now know - about the qualification process for the next WSWS, but the IRB have said nothing (officially).

Personally I hope and expect that if we get an announcement it will be in August as that is the way the IRB mind seems to work.

As for the future of XVs in general, the one saving factor is that, as a rule, the players want to play it. The XVs game continues in places like Belgium and Switzerland due to player pressure, and it may be a factor that some unions are more willing to listen to their grassroots than others (Germany, for example, seems very top down).

In the meanwhile FIRA continue to be committed to annual events - though the developing teams do complain that they FIRAs tournament have tended to be aimed at just the elite, which is why the Dutch - for instance - play so little. They only seem to enter when it is a tournament that they can be competitive in, bearing in mind that their top players are lost to sevens. Entering a tournament containing only England, France, Spain and Italy puts them on a hiding to nothing (remember Finland's experience a few years back!). Ditto the Asian championship is on again this year - though their second division has disappeared.

The problem with XVs, though, is not just money - its the lack of competitiveness. New Zealand and England (this year's 6N notwithstanding) are so far ahead of the rest that it would kill ambition even if sevens did not exist, About half of the teams in this year's WRWC have said what their target for the tournament is, but remarkably only two have said they are aiming to win it. For most teams the WRWC is all about competing for 3rd place - Canada's target is 4th, Ireland 5th.

Frankly I blame less sevens here than the attitude of the leading countries. To my mind it is beholden on the top countries to grow the game, but they simply will do nothing. I will refrain from suggesting that NZ could have got their finger out a bit more as I know that YK will drop in me (though I will perhaps mention the tournaments they hosted or played in the 90s that they do not now), but UK unions have been just as negative, sitting in their ivory tower. They never hosted a European tournament of any sort, and actually play fewer games against non-6N nations that they did 10 years ago when Scotland, for example, used to play Sweden regularly.

Would it really be that expensive to put an England or Welsh or Irish development team on a budget flight to Zurich or Prague or wherever for games that would excite local players - and media? The Czechs recent came to Scotland to play Glasgow University - would it have been that hard to put them against a Scotland XV instead (to the mutual benefit of both Scotland and the Czech team) - or did the SRU fear a defeat?

Problems is that the leading nations seem to think that playing anyone else is somehow beneath them - and in the long run that is the biggest threat to XVs.

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Re: The future of Womens XVs Rugby

Postby Ernie's Rugby » Wed, 30 Apr 2014, 02:53

I live in the US and the women's program gets treat as 2nd class citzens. The WRWC is several months away and there is only 2 test that they have played. Its shows the little care that USAR puts in to it. The club level is fine. But its our international team gets it bad. The tests against France was joke! The first two was in the middle of nowhere. When the men played Tonga is was deem as a double feature. Same city, but two different fields. The mens in a nice big staduim and the womens in a small college field. For a team that won the first world cup, its a slap in the face!

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