Thursday, 18 January 2007

Women's pioneer dies aged 106

YOU might think women's rugby is a comparatively recent phenomenon but a remarkable pioneer has died in Cardiff aged 106. Maria Eley played full-back for Cardiff Ladies in a wartime charity match at Cardiff Arms Park on Dec 16, 1917, when Newport won 6-0. Interestingly, reports suggest that the Cardiff team all wore protective headgear, which predates their male counterparts by some decades.

Maria remained a keen player until she married her husband, Hector, and concentrated on bringing up eight children. She attributed her longevity to a love of rugby and an aversion to cigarettes and alcohol. Away from rugby and family duties she chaired the senior citizens club at her native Cogan for 24 years and was still calling bingo until she was 101.

Daily Telegraph (London, England) (Jan 18, 2007): p016

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Women's topless haka stunt offends Maori.

IT WAS intended as a cheeky charity stunt but a topless haka performed by a British women's rugby team has been criticised as offensive by Maori in New Zealand.

The team, from Canterbury, Kent, were smeared with mud and wearing only shorts when they were photographed leaping into the air in a parody of the Maori war dance, made famous by New Zealand's rugby team, the All Blacks.

The picture appears in a 2007 calendar intended to raise money for breast cancer research.

The women preserved their modesty with one arm covering their breasts.

"It looks like misuse of the haka to me,'' said Dr Poia Rewi, of the School of Maori Studies at Otago University.

Daily Telegraph (London, England) (Jan 9, 2007): p016.