Women's England Rugby
The Squad and Tournaments
The England Women’s Sevens Squad competes in the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, the female equivalent to the HSBC Sevens World Series. The IRB Women's Sevens World Series provides the leading female rugby players the chance to experience elite level, high performance Sevens competition globally.
The England Women’s set-up differs slightly from that of the men’s; the Women’s sevens team are not centrally contracted and so the players are eligible for national duties in both rugby sevens and the 15s game. There is an elite squad of 44 players which comprises the pool of players to be selected for both teams. This structure means that the England Women’s sevens squad is constantly changing due to differing selection strategies and injuries.
The other significant difference to their male counterparts is that women’s rugby in the UK is currently unprofessional and as such the England women must not only juggle representing England in two codes of rugby but they must also manage their independent careers. The players are employed in a variety of occupations including: police officers, teachers, personal trainers and coaches.
Jo Watmore, England is prepared to do whatever it takes to represent her country: "I really enjoy training and it is something I would do even if I didn't have to," she says "people think it is a sacrifice but if you enjoy something, it is more your own choice.”
The Road to Rio 2016
As with the men, England has been nominated as the lead squad to secure qualification for Team GB.
Sue Day is up for the challenge, “You play sport at the highest level to challenge yourself to be the best that you can possibly be and to compete with the best from all over the world, and what better stage to do that on than at the Olympics?”
The England Women are exhilarated at the prospect of competing in the Olympics as women’s rugby and rugby sevens will be showcased at the greatest sporting show on earth. Michaela Staniford, a key England 7s player and IRB Female Player of the Year in 2012 said:
“There is a real shift happening with Rugby 7s and a huge amount of interest given its new Olympic status. Many countries are really investing a lot into the sport – they may not be the traditional powerhouses in the full game, but they are finding really strong squads of 10-12 very athletic players.”
The IRB Sevens World Series
The Series takes place in Dubai, Brazil, USA, Canada, London and Amsterdam. The hugely successful first Series in 2012-2013 saw staggering growth in the depth of the Women's Sevens Game, provided a significant platform for growth in media coverage and has resulted in the addition of London and Canada to the circuit. Twelve teams take part in each round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series. Seven core teams have automatic entry, whilst a qualifying competition in Hong Kong decides on an extra four team’s entry. The 12th team is invited for each round of the series.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The level of competition in the Women’s Sevens World Series is at an all-time high, and has been helped by the prospect of taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.”
The Women’s 2014 Series kicks off in Dubai and coincides with the men’s HSBC Series. England will hope to improve upon last season’s result of fourth in the Series standings and emulate previous success.