Showing posts with label Wales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wales. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 March 2007

England chase title

Rugby union England will achieve their second grand slam in successive seasons if they beat Wales in the women's international in Taffs Well today. Sue Day leads an unchanged XV against a Wales side who have lost once in this year's championship, to France, and are celebrating 20 years of international women's rugby in the Principality.

The Times (London, England) (March 17, 2007): p107.

Thursday, 20 January 2005

Teenage dream

THE growing popularity of women's rugby is reflected in the announcement of a youthful England team

for the Six Nations opener against Wales on Feb 4 in Cardiff. Six squad members are under 23, including Michaela Staniford (pictured), who will become

the youngest England international when she appears at outside centre.

The A-level student learned the game at Rickmansworth School and Fullerians, before joining the East Durham and Houghall Community College academy .

"Michaela is a natural footballer and very talented," Geoff Richards, the England coach, said. "Of course, she's inexperienced, but with the World Cup 18 months away now is the time for young players like her to get their chance."

Staniford will be 18 years and 24 days old when she plays against Wales, beating scrum-half Danielle Waterman, 43 days older when she won her first cap two years ago.

Richards believes the growth in women's rugby at clubs and schools has built a pool of far better players. In the past, women tended to start the game at university.

Daily Telegraph (London, England) (Jan 20, 2005)

Monday, 13 May 2002 a lesbian tiff


THE Welsh women's rugby team may benefit from a bizarre lesbian love scandal among their Aussie rivals.

Australian player Cheryl Soon took an overdose after a fight with ex-lover and fellow player Tui Ormsby.

Soon, 26, was upset she and Ormsby, 24, had split up. Aussie team boss Larry Thompson does not want Soon in the side. But she and Ormsby will line up together today when Australia meet Wales in the women's World Cup in Barcelona.

In a report Thompson said Soon was in a "very unstable condition" after the bust up.

He said Soon should not be selected because the row had caused a "real split among the team".

But the Australian Rugby Union sent Soon for counselling.

An ARU spokesman said "The matter has been dealt with appropriately.

"We are satisfied with her capacity to do the job asked of her at the World Cup."

The Mirror (London, England) (May 13, 2002): p16

Tuesday, 17 August 1999

S4C launch TV dram based round women's team

ACTRESS Ffion Dafis is out to prove women's rugby is not all hairy armpits and bulging thighs.

She's going for it as the star of a new TV drama about the sexploits of the women's game.

And the saucy actress is using a stunning Christine Keeler-type pose to promote S4C's new drama.

The television channel hopes the new warts-'n'-all show will have wives and hubbies mauling for the remote control.

Set in a fictional North Wales town, Amdani - it means Go For It - lays bare the sexual antics of the fictional 15 players.

One programme maker said: "It brings the muddy and sexy world of women's rugby alive."

And they kicked off their advertising campaign with Ffion's daring Rucking for Wales poster.

An S4C source said: "This drama focuses on the sexual antics of the girls. Although some of the ladies display skills that Graham Henry would be proud of.

"S4C has never done anything like this before.

"This is the first time a programme has looked at women's rugby both on and off the pitch."

Actor Daffydd Emyr is the team's Romeo coach - a man who manages to get to grips with all his girls.

But all the stars prepared so well for their roles on the field they ended up beating Bethesda RFC in a practice game before filming.

Co-producer Sue Waters added: "It is going to be a very lively series which I hope will appeal to S4C viewers.

"It has been a lot of hard work, but we're also having a lot of fun during the filming."

The hard-hitting series will kick off on September 19.

Source Citation
"Rugby women will try anything for a TV hit." Mirror [London, England] 17 Aug. 1999

Friday, 1 May 1998

World Cup: Home nations prepare

A DARK cloud looms on the horizon of women's rugby. It is called New Zealand and the 15 other countries that contest the third World Cup in Holland over the next fortnight await with some trepidation to see whether its womenfolk can match the feats of the All Blacks.

The old order is changing, no matter what the gender. England, the holders, the United States and France have been the traditional powers but this weekend will show what the southern hemisphere can offer: New Zealand played in the first women's World Cup, in Wales in 1991, but withdrew from the 1994 tournament after an absence of support from the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

They return with a flourish, underpinned by the growing popularity of competitive touch rugby in the southern- hemisphere summer and successes that include a 67-0 demolition of England last year. They will be joined, for the first time in a world tournament, by Australia, while Scotland will enter as European champions after a season in which they recorded their first success against England, by 8-5 in March.

For the first time, the tournament commands the support of the International Rugby Board (IRB), which will meet all the costs. It is a far cry from seven years ago, when the overwhelming enthusiasm of the administrators of the women's game in Britain carried all before them, even if it left them in debt by the close.

Now, however, there is greater recognition by the men of the merits of women's rugby. For example, England will defend their title after spending a week together at Lilleshall, thanks to a Pounds 146,000 grant from the National Lottery; the team is sponsored by Swiss Life (UK), supported by ADMeat, and a further eight companies con tribute significantly to the squad's preparation.

Ten years ago, when Gill Burns played her first international (against Sweden, England's pool opponents tomorrow), the players paid their own way in terms of kit, travel and accommodation. Burns leads England into what will be her third World Cup, knowing the financial worries that afflicted the 1991 organisers are things of the past - though she has not taken a holiday in the past six years and the mileage on her car is approaching 200,000.

This has not stopped three members of the squad - Susie Appleby (policewoman), Janice Byford (teacher) and Helen Clayton (lecturer) - from taking career breaks so that they can concentrate on a successful World Cup. It is also an opportunity for youth, because in Jo Yapp, 18, England include one of the youngest competitors in the tournament. Whether England can retain their crown remains to be seen. Their squad has changed out of all recognition since the visit to New Zealand, but the forwards do not look as formidable as the pack that squeezed the life out of the United States in the 1994 final; they have received coaching from luminaries such as Dick Best and Phil Larder and enter the fray encouraged by their 62-8 defeat of Ireland a month ago.

They are seeded to meet New Zealand in the semi-finals, at the Dutch National Rugby Centre in Amsterdam. Scotland, drawn in the same pool as New Zealand, must beat Italy to ensure a quarter-final place, while Wales are in the same pool as the Americans, whose free-running backs provided the highlights of the 1994 tournament.

Ireland's inexperienced team, which has received financial support from the Irish Rugby Football Union worth Pounds 20,000, will lack nothing in commitment but look to have the most demanding of games on the opening day, when they play Australia. It is, though, New Zealand's performance that will be watched most closely. "Ever since they beat us in August, I have been dying for another chance," Emma Mitchell, England's talented scrum half, said. That chance may be just around the corner.


ENGLAND: Backs: P George (Wasps), N Brown (Worcester), P Spivey (Clifton), J Molyneux (Waterloo), S Day (Wasps), K Knight (Old Leamingtonians), T Collins (Saracens), S Appleby (Saracens), G Prangnell (Wasps), E Mitchell (Saracens), J Yapp (Worcester). Forwards: J Smith (Wasps), J Byford (Saracens), T O'Reilly (Saracens), M Edwards (Saracens), N Ponsford (Saracens), J Poore (Richmond), T Siwek (Richmond), L Uttley (Wasps), C Green (Saracens), S Robertson (Leeds), G Stevens (Clifton), J Ross (Saracens), H Clayton (Saracens), C Frost (Saracens), G Burns (Waterloo, captain).

WALES: Backs: N Evans (Cardiff Harlequins), T Comley (Ty-Croes), E Green (Saracens), S Thomas (Waterloo), S Phillips (Aberystwyth), L Rickard (Aberystwyth), R Williams (Wasps), S Williams (Ty-Croes), B Evans (Cardiff Harlequins, captain), R Owens (Swansea Uplands), S Calnan (Cheltenham). Forwards: D Mason (Waterloo), J Studley (Blaenau Gwent), A Antoniazzi (Waterloo), L Pritchard (Cardiff Harlequins), N Griffiths (Cardiff Harlequins), J Kift (Cardiff Harlequins), A Dent (Waterloo), C Donovan (Saracens), J Robinson (Aberystwyth), J Morgan (Cardiff Harlequins), S Ellis (Richmond), G Baylis (Saracens), E Steer (Swansea Uplands), P Evans (Swansea Uplands), L Burgess (Saracens).

SCOTLAND: Backs: C Herriot (Edinburgh Academicals), A McGrandles (Leeds), M Cave (Saracens), S Brodie (Edinburgh Academicals, K Littlejohn (Leeds, captain), D Fairbairn (Murrayfield Wanderers), P Paterson (Richmond), K Craigie (Murrayfield Wanderers), S Higgins (Edinburgh Academicals), R Lewis (Murrayfield Wanderers), L Blamire (Edinburgh Academicals), P Chalmers (Murrayfield Wanderers). Forwards: J Taylor (Edinburgh Academicals), K Findley (Richmond), L Allsopp (Murrayfield Wanderers), A Christie (Edinburgh Academicals), A MacKenzie (Glasgow Southern), S Scott (Murrayfield Wanderers), M McHardy (Edinburgh Academicals), L Cockburn (Edinburgh Academicals), G Cameron (Murrayfield Wanderers), D Kennedy (Leeds), I Wilson (Alton), J Sheerin (Richmond), J Afseth (Edinburgh Academicals), B MacLeod (Murrayfield Wanderers).

IRELAND: Backs: S Cosgrave (Old Crescent), L Nicholl (Cooke), A Dillon (Blackrock College), C-A Byrne (Blackrock College, captain), F Neary (Waterloo), S Fleming (Cooke), H Siwek (Wasps), R Currie (Cooke), R Shrieves (Richmond), F Devaney (Creggs), S O'Donovan (Waterloo). Forwards: D Campbell (Cooke), O Brown (Shannon), M Nash (Wasps), A Parsons (Wasps), J Moore (Exeter), E Wilt (Crawley), T Kennedy (Old Leamingtonians), M Myles (Wasps), A-M McAllister (Blackrock College), L Noade (Cooke), R Burn (Novocastrians), J O'Gorman (Old Crescent), F Steed (Novocastrians), J Whiteside (Leeds), J McCarthy (Old Crescent).

POOLS: A: England, Canada, Holland, Sweden. B: United States, Spain, Wales, Russia. C: France, Australia, Ireland, Kazakhstan. D: New Zealand, Scotland, Italy, Germany.

ITINERARY: Today: Opening ceremony; Canada v Holland. Tomorrow: Spain v Wales, New Zealand v Germany, France v Kazkhstan, United States v Russia, England v Sweden, Australia v Ireland, Scotland v Italy. May 5: Pool matches between first-round winners; pool matches between first-round losers. 9: Quarter-finals. 12: Semi-finals. 16: Final.

Copyright (C) The Times, 1998

Source Citation
Hands, David. "England outlook blackened by rivals; Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 1 May 1998

Monday, 5 February 1996

England v Wales: report

Patricia Davies spends an afternoon at the mangle as the women rugby players of Wales are taken to the cleaners

We all have days like this: starting off full of hope and ending up mangled. At Welford Road, the home of Leicester, yesterday, Wales's women rugby players continued their losing streak against England; steamrollered into the mud, 56-3.

Wales were plucky. Near the end of the match, someone called for them to ``buck up'', a quaintly old-fashioned request, one you suspected the visitors' combative No7 would not have appreciated. She was spoken to by the referee after a swipe at an opponent early on there had been an elegant bit of lifting by England in the lineout, mind and late on she had been given a severe talking-to after some shenanigans in one of those forward melees civilians like me will never understand.

In any case, by then my attention had started to wander, my feet and hands were icing up and the match was too one-sided to be enjoyable as a contest. Not that England or their supporters minded the strains of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot were heard before the game even started and 1,205 hardy souls took a spirited interest in the proceedings. There were plenty of stewards on duty, looking rather under-employed because there was plenty of room for everybody and nobody felt inclined to streak on such a chilly afternoon.

This being a proper international, the teams lined up for the two anthems and sang as lustily as they were to play on a pitch one of the photographers described as being ``like glue''. Since he and his colleagues had to trawl up and down the touchline in it, he was not a neutral observer. The Wales players did not seem to run out of puff, however, even though it was 41-0 before they scored their only points a dropped goal from Amanda Bennett, their chunky stand-off half from Saracens.

Just before that England had elected to kick a penalty, which I found a trifle baffling since they were 38-0 up and in no danger of losing their 100 per cent record against Wales, extending now to 11 internationals. Then I realised why it was to allow Gill Burns, of Waterloo, the captain and No8, to show off her kicking technique from wide out on the right. She converted and the desultory chant of ``Boring, boring rubbish'' was replaced by appreciative cheers.

Burns, 31, is a school teacher, measuring 5ft 11in, weighing 12st 7lb (there is no modesty in a rugby programme) and Wales, whose No8 was 5ft 4in, could not hold her. She scored the first of her team's eight tries, rolling out of a tackle and then powering over the line in jubilation.

``Just like Deano,'' said a Leicester man used to the exploits of Dean Richards. Well, maybe a little faster.

Just before the try, there had been a lineout and I am sure the codeword was ``elephant''. Then, there had been a mix-up between the Wales full back and right wing, who went for the same high ball. The full back was furious. ``I called,'' she spat. Well, I did not hear her either. I have to confess I had called her a ``twit'' for not calling. Shows how wrong you can be from the sidelines.

There was plenty of that esoteric rummaging about and crunching tackles that made me realise I was too old and too timid to take up the game but there was lots of handling, too, some of it decidedly slick. However Wales, whose coach, Paul Ringer, looked on philosphically, tended to drop the ball at crucial moments and England would pick it up and charge off to notch up yet another try. There was nearly a charge-down reminiscent of the one at Twickenham the previous day and England made several interceptions; if my fingers had not seized up I might have made a legible note of how many had led to tries.

I have seen many men's club matches a lot less skilful and the spectators, a mix of young and old, male and female, were quick to applaud the passing moves the men's teams are often afraid to try in these win-at-all-costs days. ``I like their shirts better than the men's as well,'' commented one England supporter, obviously of the old, unadorned school.

It was well worth the detour even the beefburger, bought out of duty, was excellent, though the hot toddies had to wait until after the drive home.

Copyright (C) The Times, 1996

Source Citation
"Women happy to abandon the gentle touch; Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 5 Feb. 1996

Monday, 13 February 1995

England v Wales

Gerald Davies reports on a skilful women's international in which England beat Wales 25-0

The old world changes, and so do attitudes. Years ago, a friend of mine used to say, in his fashion, that, for so rough a game, he could not get over the extraordinary number of women who followed rugby. Were he still with us today, he would find that the women are not only there sitting beside him in the stand, but out there on the pitch, too. For so politically correct an age, this masculine view of the feminine world may be interpreted as dangerous talk. But there we are. We cannot deny the fact.

Quite what my old pal would say in seeing the women of England actually playing the game against the women of Wales, I am not sure. But knowing him, he would doubtless approve, particularly as he would have seen a match of high skill and wholehearted endeavour at Sale yesterday. He would have been less content, however, since he wore his Welsh heart so firmly on his sleeve, to see Wales go down to so disciplined and well-organised an England team by five tries without reply.

Those who object to women playing rugby are much the same as those who once objected to women running marathons: the over-protective male attempting to shelter what is perceived to be the sensitive femininity of a woman. This is the male chauvinist in patronising mood.

Jeff Probyn put his foot in it recently by wishing, at the first hint of danger and physical harm, to outlaw women from rugby altogether and giving scant acknowledgement that women, like men, can make up their own minds as to what is and what is not dangerous. Adopting such a posture is much like subscribing to Dr Samuel Johnson's view that ``a man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner at his table, than when his wife talks Greek''.

Had the venerable good doctor known about rugby, he might have added the laws of rugby union as another subject to be kicked into touch. The dissection of rugby's intricacies can often seem like so much ``greek'' in any case.

While England were too powerful for Wales to make it a proper contest, the skills displayed and the overall commitment of both teams were qualities to admire. The feistiness with which women's rugby has been foisted on an unsuspecting and deeply suspicious public deserves to be richly rewarded. Unless that sounds too patronising.

The dominating personality was England's captain. Gill Burns dominated the lineout and like Dean Richards although comparisons are not wholly valid she drew her forwards around her to clear any threats at the base of the scrum. Not far behind her was Jenny Chambers. Suzy Appleby was a neat and busy scrum half, who, with an accurate pass, seemed to turn up everywhere when the need was called. These three set a high standard.

For Wales, Amanda Bennett, at stand-off half, seemed to have studied the videos of when Wales's factory was in full production. She had a fine game, as did Lisa Jones at No8.

Sara Wenn's try from a drive at the lineout close to the Welsh line and Burns's push-over try gave England the half-time lead. Superior power in attack led to three more tries after the interval by Mills, Appleby and Edwards.

Now that England and Scotland are associate members of their respective rugby unions, with Wales and Ireland soon to follow, the future of women's rugby can be nothing less than bright. Any remaining prejudice must fly out of the window.

SCORERS: England: Tries: Wenn, Burns, Mills, Appleby, Edwards.

ENGLAND: P George (Wasps); J Molyneux (Waterloo), J Edwards (Blackheath), A Wallace (Leeds), A Cole (Saracens); D Mills (Richmond), S Appleby (Novocastrians); J Mangham (Waterloo), N Ponsford (Clifton), E Scourfield (Leeds), J Chambers (Richmond), S Wenn (Wasps), H Stirrup (Wasps), H Clayton (Waterloo), G Burns (Waterloo). Cole replaced by L Mayhew (Leeds, 68min). Burns temporarily replaced by K Henderson (Clifton, 56).

WALES: K Richards (Old Leamingtonians); A Lewis (Ystradgynlais), P Evans (Swansea), W Shaw (Aberystwyth), K Yau (Waterloo); A Bennett (Wasps), B Evans (Cardiff); J Watkins (Cardiff), N Griffiths (Cardiff), C Lloyd (Cardiff), J Morgan (Cardiff), S Jones (Cardiff), K Knoak (Swansea), S Butler (Richmond), L Jones (Cardiff). B Evans replaced by C Thomas (Waterloo, 28); Griffiths replaced by B Jones-Evans (Waterloo, 68), S Jones replaced by H Carey (Swansea, 56).

Referee: J Fleming (Scotland).

Copyright (C) The Times, 1995

Source Citation
"National pride dispels prejudice; Women's Rugby." Times [London, England] 13 Feb. 1995

Thursday, 14 April 1994

World cup: Kazakhstan v Wales

Alan Lorimer

KAZAKHSTAN arrived in Edinburgh for the women's rugby union world championship as an unknown force but will surely depart having gained new-found respect.

Yesterday, the former Soviet Republic gave an impressive display of running rugby against Wales at Raeburn Place and were ahead halfway through the first half before eventually going down 29-8.

Kitted out in an attractive blue-and-black strip and displaying clearly on their cycling shorts the logo of Holsten, their sponsor, Kazakhstan gave Wales a much harder game than expected, but Wales's streetwise knowledge of the game allowed them to dominate the second half. Moreover, the kicking of Amanda Bennett at stand-off half created a cushion for Wales that kept the opposition in arrears in the second half.

Bennett no relation to Phil Bennett, the former Wales stand-off kicked four penalty goals and one conversion and saw another of her conversion attempts rebound off an upright. She also displayed an eye for an opening, although the Wales backs failed to capitalise.

It was the Kazakhstan backs who showed the greater running skills particularly Alfiya Tamaeva, the full back, who kicked a first-half penalty, and Sofiya Kabanova, who scored a try in the first period after a break by Tamaeva.

Wales trailed 8-6 at half-time but took the lead early in the second half when Kate Eaves, the lock, powered her way over from a quickly taken penalty.

Bennett's third and fourth penalties took Wales well clear and, when Eaves scored her second try, again from close range, Kazakhstan's hopes were ended. In the final minute, Wales attempted a push-over try but the Kazakhstan pack collapsed at the scrum. A penalty try was awarded, which Bennett converted.

Copyright (C) The Times, 1994

Source Citation
"Bennett inspires Wales; Women's Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 14 Apr. 1994

Wednesday, 12 February 1992

Wales v England: feature

William Greaves

In three hours they would be striding out on to the hallowed ground of Cardiff Arms Park, the ancestral home of Welsh rugby where Gareth Edwards and J.P.R. Williams once reigned supreme. But now the track-suited forwards were sitting, lounging and crouching on and around the double bed of room 213 at the city's Angel Hotel, listening to coach Jonathan Moore telling them what to expect from the much-vaunted English pack.

``When they're in our 22 they'll attack off the back row and look to work a switch with the centres, so watch the blind side,'' he said, in a jargon which was instantly understood by an audience of thoughtfully nodding heads. ``If the back row start running it's your job, Bess, to get out there tackling...''

From the corner, Belinda Davies, a 29-year-old sales manager from Llandrindod Wells, felt moved to offer her view of her opposing prop forward, Sandy Ewing: ``She's happy when she's allowed to look good running around the park but give her a bad time in the scrum and she's knackered.''

The tension eased. This was fighting talk and just the kind of thing 25-year-old Bess Evans, hooker, vice-captain and chairman of the Welsh Women's Rugby Football Union, needed to hear to quell the big match nerves which had kept her awake for most of the night.

As the host organiser of the sixth clash between the women of Wales and England, she knew better than anybody the significance of the next few hours. This was much more than a game of rugger. It was the day when the audience response would determine whether her sex had really made its mark on the most intimately physical of all outdoor team sports.

I had come, full of joy and rich in mixed metaphor, to watch jolly hockey sticks replacing the blood and bruises of the real thing.

There would never be a better chance to challenge such chauvinist prejudices. Although their first club sides date back to the late 1970s and the Women's Rugby Football Union (WRFU) was formed nine years ago, last Sunday was the first time they had been allowed to use a national stadium for a home international match.

And if that were not milestone enough, the game was to be refereed by Derek Bevan, who took charge of last year's World Cup final in which Australia and England could have filled Twickenham many times over.

Would such an eloquent vote of confidence from one of the most respected officials of the men's game produce the kind of spectator attendance which was so desperately needed?

That all this was haunting the Welsh chairman's mind through those fitful hours of darkness was confirmed first thing on the morning of battle by her roommate Tania Wear, a 26-year-old engineering undergraduate, loose head prop forward and new cap. ``Every time I rolled over, I was aware of Bess lying there wide awake, staring at the ceiling,'' she said.

Miss Evans, an athletic and irrepressibly cheerful postgraduate student of the University of Wales, where she is studying for an M.Phil in sports physiology, agreed that it had been a disastrous night. ``The trouble was that I was wearing two hats. As a player I badly want to beat England but I'm also concerned that the whole day is a success. Because we are playing at the Arms Park, I thought it was important to keep up the stature of the occasion by booking the two teams into good hotels nearby. The Welsh Rugby Union gave us the ground but we have to pay for the security stewards and although both the Grand and the Angel hotels have generously given me time to settle their accounts, I'll be in big trouble if we don't get enough through the turnstiles.''

With 130 club sides but no major sponsor, women's rugby is both the fastest-growing team sport in Britain (according to the Sports Council) and a shoestring survivor. That one of its star players should have to lift her eyes from the scrum and anxiously count the paying punters comes as no surprise to Karen Almond, a PE teacher from Hertfordshire who is the England visitors' captain, fly half and a veteran of 20 internationals. ``We've always had to pay for our own travel and hotels and we even have to buy our shirts and socks out of our own pocket,'' she said without a hint of complaint. ``We had our own world cup competition last year and England lost to the US in the final. We'd love to go over there to play a return but it's an awfully long way away.''

By 6.30am, Miss Evans gave up the unequal struggle against insomnia, got dressed and went out to pace the Cardiff pavements. Three hours later she joined her teammates for a carbohydrate breakfast of pasta and a lemon and lime energy drink which Carol Thomas, a wing forward with eight previous caps but today one of the replacements on the bench, said tasted much better with vodka in it. Everyone laughed a bit too loudly. Badinage was clearly an approved antidote to ever-tightening nerves.

Afterwards in room 102 ``just give me five minutes to tidy away yesterday's knickers'' (more laughter and several ribald comments) Miss Evans laid newspaper on the bed to get down to the chore of boot-cleaning. ``I never had any feminist ambition to knock down barriers,'' she said. ``I was introduced to the game at college and wanted to play it because unlike hockey and netball it was a young, growing sport and I suppose the physical contact side of it appealed to me, too.''

With an hour to go before kick-off, both teams were changed and out on the turf for team pictures. Edginess was everywhere as each player found her own method to calm a pounding heart. Miss Wear looked up at the empty stands. ``You can almost feel them filled with people, can't you?'' she said. ``It's a dream come true. At college a lot of the boys talk about one day playing at Cardiff Arms Park well I've beaten them too it.''

The crowd, including guests, built up to about 3,000 and the all-important turnstile receipts to Pounds 6,500 ``certainly enough to cover the hotel and security bills'', said a much relieved Miss Evans afterwards. If it was not exactly the capacity 53,000 that would have graced the comparable men's international clash, by the time the band had played the national anthems, there was no shortage of partisan clamour.

And within about 20 minutes at least one male spectator was aware of a strange attitude conversion. England's fleet-footed Deborah Francis had gone over for a try in the corner; at the other end Welsh flanker Jackie Morgan had taken advantage of an appalling defensive mix-up to touch down the equalising points; the crowd, equally divided in allegiance, bayed its encouragement and the field was no longer full of women but of rugby players locked in mighty conflict.

The game ebbed and flowed with Miss Almond and her opposing Welsh fly-half, Samantha Porter, exchanging a couple of penalty goals each. A lengthy period of English pressure in the last half hour brought a spectacular try from full-back Jane Mitchell and a winning margin of 14-10.

Back at the hotel, Rosie Golby, a player herself and the secretary of the WRFU, laughed at my reaction. ``That's what nearly everyone says when they watch for the first time that they soon forget that we are women,'' she said.

Last to arrive at the reception was Miss Evans delayed by having two stitches in a badly cut lip.

`I went in to tackle Jill Burns, the English No8, and her head popped up and caught me,'' she said philosophically. ``It doesn't look very pretty and I'm afraid it's ruined my chances for tonight.''

Her mother, Jean Evans, put a consoling arm around her. ``She's had black eyes, terrible bruises and one broken leg and I always seem to end up taking her to hospital,'' she said.

``But I never worry. Our whole household is given over to women's rugby and she's doing what she wants to do.''

Copyright (C) The Times, 1992

Source Citation
"Hard tackles on a shoestring; Life and Times." Times [London, England] 12 Feb. 1992

Monday, 10 February 1992

Wales v England

JANE Mitchell, the Saracens full back, maintained England's unbeaten record over Wales by scoring the match-winning try in injury time yesterday in the first women's rugby international to be staged at Cardiff Arms Park (a Special Correspondent writes). England won 14-10.

Deborah Francis, the Richmond wing, gave England the lead with the opening try of the game, but Wales hit back courtesy of a try by their Pontypool flanker, Jackie Morgan.

The first of two penalty goals by Samantha Porter, the Cardiff stand-off half winning international honours in her third sport, gave Wales the lead, but Karen Almond, her opposite number, made it 7-7 at the interval with a penalty of her own. Porter's second successful kick, ten minutes into the second half, raised Welsh hopes in front of a 2,500 crowd, but Almond tied the scores again with her second penalty goal.

SCORERS: Wales: Try: Morgan. Penalty goals: Porter (2). England: Tries: Francis, Mitchell. Penalty goals: Almond (2).

WALES: J Thomas (Bedford); W Shaw (Lampeter), J Jones (Blaenau Gwent), E Davies (Richmond), P George (Richmond); S Porter (Cardiff), J Decaux (Cardiff); T Wear (Cardiff), B Evans (Cardiff), B Davies (Lampeter), K Eaves (Wasps), F Margerison (Cardiff), J Morgan (Pontypool), L Burgess (Saracens, captain), C Mann (Cardiff).

ENGLAND: J Mitchell (Saracens); C Stennett (Wasps), J Edwards (Blackheath), G Prangell (Richmond), D Francis (Richmond); K Almond (Wasps, captain), E Mitchell (Saracens); J Mangham (Waterloo), S Wachholz (Richmond), S Ewing (Wasps), H Stirrup (Wasps), S Wenn (Clifton), G Burns (Waterloo), M Edwards (Blackheath).

Referee: W D Bevan (WRU).

Copyright (C) The Times, 1992

Source Citation
"Mitchell maintains an unbeaten record; Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 10 Feb. 1992

Monday, 13 February 1989

England v Wales

England 38 Wales 4

England took the upper hand very quickly in their women's international match at The Reddings in Moseley yesterday. Wales did not have the fitness to meet the onslaught from England's smooth-running backs.

Led by their stand-off half, Almond, England repeatedly ran through the Welsh defence. Almond was the linchpin in much of the play, scoring two tries herself and kicking five conversions. The English wingers outpaced their opponents MacLaren scoring once and Stennett going over three times.

A five-metre scrum gave the stronger English pack a pushover try by their No.8, Purdy. Wales, however, were not deterred despite increasing tiredness and the lock forward, Eaves, scored a last-minute consolation try.

SCORERS: England: Tries: Stennett (3), Almond (2), MacLaren, Purdy. Conversions: Almond (5). Wales: Try: Eaves.

ENGLAND: Shapland; Ponsford, Watts, Ross, Burns; Cockerill, Whalley; Purdy, Mitchell, Almond, MacLaren, Robson, Harris, Stennett, Mitchell.

WALES: Davies; Harvey (rep: Lloyd), Bowen, Eaves, Margerison; Carey, Thomas; Burgess, Hayley, Bennett, Williams, Samson, Phillips, Wyatt, Longstaff.

Source Citation
"Almond commandeers England onslaught; Women's Rugby Union." Times [London, England] 13 Feb. 1989

Saturday, 26 September 1987

Sweet fifteen.


As the new rugby season gets into its stride, one of the quietest revolutions in sport continues. We all know about the meteoric rise of American football as a participant sport in Britain - but women's rugby has been growing just as quickly. At the end of the 1985 season there were 12 clubs; now there are 52, in two divisions. Some put up two teams a week, and a few, like Richmond, 'we are just as committed as the men. When we make a tackle, we mean it. But our game is less violent.' The women's game is mostly about running, and kicking is a decided weakness. 'Girls are not brought up to kick from the age of four,' said Miss Watkins, 'but we're getting there.' And the men's attitude? 'Naturally a lot of them are pretty suspicious of us but each club has enough people who are truly sympathetic and who make it work.' Copyright (C) The Times, 1987

Source Citation
"Sporting Diary: Sweet fifteen." Times [London, England] 26 Sept. 1987

Wednesday, 24 April 1985

TV documentary on Magor women's rugby team

The Times, Wednesday, Apr 24, 1985; pg. 31

Saturday, 16 March 1985

Saturday, 24 December 1983

Wednesday, 21 October 1970

1970: Charity match, Maesteg

The Times, Wednesday, Oct 21, 1970; pg. 10