Rugby Bits & Bites – Thank God It’s Friday

• It seems that the NY Press article “Is Rugby A Sport?” (blogged here & here by moi) is creating a bit of an e-mail storm in the rugby community. I’m getting a lot of hits from e-mail accounts and I also just saw it go across as a MySpace bulletin. Hmmm … and Jenna, fyi, the MySpace bulletin said to copy you on any messages to the editor, so you’re inbox might be getting full soon.

• A shoutout to our friend and fellow blogger in the UK, John Birch, who’s Letchworth Rugby Club is earning applause for stepping up and helping out … via The Comet:

The show must go on
07 December 2006

Letchworth came to the rescue of girls’ and women’s rugby in the region twice in the space of a few days.

With continual rain turning rugby grounds across the area into swamps, Letchworth remained one of the few grounds to remain in a reasonably playable condition.

The first rescue came last Wednesday when Letchworth stepped in to host the South East qualifying tournament for the RFUW Under-17 National Cup.

This had been due to take place that Sunday at Saracens, and when the continual downpours also put Welwyn out of action, Letchworth stepped to host the rearranged event.

It will now take place this Sunday (December 10) at Baldock Road.

The tournament will include teams from across the South East of England from the likes of Worthing in Sussex and Camberley in Surrey, to more local sides such as Saracens, Welwyn and Letchworth.

Two teams will qualify for the Southern finals in what promises to be an afternoon of top quality girls’ rugby.

Letchworth’s officials had barely put the phone down after setting this up when news came through that the weekend’s trial for the East Region’s women’s team was also homeless thanks to flooded grounds.

So again the club has stepped in – at barely 48 hours’ notice this time – to host the event.

All this follows on from Letchworth taking on the running of the Herts Girls’ Sevens earlier in the year when the original hosts of that were forced to pull out.

John Birch, manager of the girls’ section at the club, said: “We are always delighted to be able to help.

“It puts us on the map and demonstrates our commitment to supporting girls’ and women’s rugby.

And the Letchworth Girls also have a calendar fundraiser happening right now …

• The military coup in Fiji could stop the Fijian rugby team from competing in some upcoming events as New Zealand politicians call for a ban

New Zealand is being urged to ban Fiji from playing in an international rugby sevens tournament in Wellington in February.

Peter Dunne, the leader of New Zealand’s United Future party, wants Fiji banned from the event, despite the government saying international events are exempt from sanctions imposed because of the military coup.

“Sevens rugby means a lot to Fiji and being allowed to participate in the Wellington tournament will be used by the regime as recognition of its legitimacy,” he said.

However, running the coup hasn’t stopped new Fijian dictator Chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama from playing touch rugby.

• And I’ve got a new women’s team link to add to the sidebar, the Cape Fear Women. I also found a website reference for the Boise Nemesis Women’s team, but alas, the site isn’t working. If someone’s got more info on the Boise team, let me know. Know of a team we’re missing? E-mail me or leave it in the comments with a complete URL address. Thanks!

• Ashley sent in a link to photos by Sabrina Asch of the recent New York 7s tournament. See them here.

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