Sevens to continue incredible start to year
IRB Women’s Development Manager Su Carty considers an exciting start to the year in Europe and the strides forward being made in Women’s Rugby across the Americas.
We may only be six weeks into 2014 but what a start to the year it has been for Women’s Rugby.
In Europe the focus has been on the Women’s Six Nations with four of the teams plotting their course to Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in France from 1-17 August.
The host nation have certainly got off to a flying start with victories over England and Italy in front of their passionate fans, while defending champions Ireland got their campaign off to a dream start with a comfortable win over Scotland.
Wales showed their determination to their get their WRWC 2014 preparations back after an opening day loss to Italy with a gutsy and committed display in losing to Ireland in round two.
England, meanwhile, bounced back from their defeat to France in what was a truly entertaining match to emphatically beat Scotland and will be keen to maintain this when they on Ireland at Twickenham in a couple of weeks.
Attention turns to Sevens
We are only in February and we’re already experiencing an exciting build up for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in August!
With the Six Nations taking a little break now, all eyes turn to the Americas with teams starting to arrive in Atlanta for round two of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series.
And following swiftly on the heels of the action in Atlanta this weekend, the teams head straight on to Brazil for the first back-to-back events in a Series which continues to grow in popularity and competitiveness with each round.
Rugby Sevens will make its debut in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and there is no doubt that nations across the Americas are jumping at the opportunity this has opened up for them.
While we see Canada, USA and Brazil continuing to progress their high performance programmes for women and benefit from investment by their respective National Olympic Committees, other Unions in the region are determined to develop and challenge these established teams.
Get Into Rugby
Women’s Sevens in Argentina is now an integral part of the Union’s high performance programme and they will relish the opportunity to challenge and benchmark their performances against the world’s best when they participate in Sao Paulo.
Exciting developments in Mexico see them climb the ranks in the North American and Caribbean region to leave them just sitting behind Canada and USA. They will want to continue to build on this success as they look forward to hosting the Central American and Caribbean Games which will see Women’s Sevens feature for the first time.
However, the focus is not only on the performance side of the Game. Unions have identified the opportunity to grow the Game in the region and the IRB’s Get Into Rugby programme is at the heart of this growth.
The programme is set to reach more than 20 countries across the Americas by the end 2014. Get Into Rugby is designed to inspire the next generation to try, play and stay in rugby. The participation of girls is up to 50 per cent in some countries like Brazil and has really taken off in others like Colombia.
It is wonderful to see the smiling faces of girls taking up the sport around the regions. This will become an increasingly familiar sight as the Game continues to take off across the Americas as we look forward to rugby’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016.