“Recognition is never easily achieved. Consistent improvement in performance is necessary to win over the doubters.”
Women’s sport globally is on the march across all sports.
At Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium, 90,000 spectators attended the women’s European soccer match between Barcelona and real Madrid last week.
Rugby is surging forward. The women’s 7s tournament in the Olympics produced fast paced exciting competition. The passing technique demonstrated by New Zealand’s women was of the highest quality.
The women’s Tik Tok Six Nations competition has all 15 matches broadcast live and can be seen as a launchpad to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in October/November in New Zealand, later this year. The final to be played at Eden Park.The round 5 match of this seasons Women’s Six Nations between France and England at Bayonne’s Stade Jean Dauger on April 30th is already a sell-out, such is the level of interest.
As Harlequins and England scrum half Danny Care recently stated, “The growth potential is phenomenal.”
In round 1 of this year’s Tik Tok Six Nations the big guns put down a marker. England beating Scotland 57-5 while France put Italy to the sword 39-6. Wales however produced the result of the round beating Ireland 27-19 in Dublin.
France 40 v Ireland 5
Ireland smarting from a home loss to Wales last week, were never in this contest. France were simply superb. Their passing crisp and accurate, re-alignment immediate and pace throughout the team. They play a game which almost mirrors the men’s national side, with second man plays and exquisite close quarter support play.
With a dominant set-piece, France were always on the front foot. Ireland competed with great determination but were always chasing the ball.
The fact that France have a win record over Ireland of 25-3 highlights Irelands problem. France will be short odds to win the World cup in October/November in New Zealand.
Wales 24 v Scotland 19
Scotland will be asking, “how did we lose that game?” Scotland made 4 changes from the side that lost heavily to England. Wales picked an unchanged squad of 23 from the win in Ireland.
Scotland built pressure and one try came at the end of 24 continuous phases of attack. Both sides demonstrated line -out catch and drive skills to score tries. But for all their early dominance Scotland only led by 14-7 at the break.
A second try for Scotland’s wing Lloyd early in the second half suggested a win might be on the cards. But the Welsh scrum was gaining ascendancy and very quickly the strong fight back produced a 19-19 score line with 10 minutes to play. More Welsh pressure saw Lewis score wide out and Wales led 24-19.
In front of a record passionate crowd Wales defended their line, desperately holding out for a narrow win. Scotland will feel hard done by but wiser for the loss.
Italy 0 v England 74
Wow! huge intensity. A truly skilful and powerful performance.
There are a million positive stats for England from this match. The fact that winger Lydia Thompson scored a hat trick and managed more metres in hand than flanker Alex Mathews, 141 m, a true reflection of England’s style of play.
There is such a depth of talent that rotating and keeping all the players on edge might be the issue as well as selection. There will be good players left out of the World Cup squad.
Two games have a mouth-watering prospect. The final game of this seasons six Nations against France and a potential earthmover against New Zealand in the World Cup in October/November.
Coaching thought: Increasing awareness. Ask your players. “Did you know what you were going to do with the ball before you received it?”