Whilst perusing the iRB Women's Sevens World Series site this morning I came across this article about the momentum and growth of the women's game. It's amazing to see more and more 7s programs emerge, especially in the NACRA region. In recent years with both Beavers and Stars I've had the chance to play against Chile, Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico's national sides and have also spent time in each of those countries; to see more women's rugby grow more and more each year is thrilling!
Additionally, the Stars have an invite from the Costa Rican national team for a possible tour and are strongly considering Tobago 7s for later this year. It's great to see Argentina dedicate resources to the game - I've backpacked there multiple times and taken a rugby tour with the collegiate men I coached and had the time of my life on every occasion. During my travels to Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Mar del Plata and beyond I was met with odd looks any time I mentioned I played rugby; it's just not common amongst women (field hockey is by far the popular sport of choice). Argentina could/should quickly rise in the rankings with the developmental initiative there!
Sevens to continue incredible start to year
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.
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
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.
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.