The Incendiary Chris Diver Burns up the Turf at HQ!

Scotland Prepare "Response Unit" for the Ould Enemy!

Head Coach Geoff Richards acknowledged in his interview of March 6th with Rugby Times, that so far as the Women's Six Nation's was concerned, Scotland would provide the sternest test for his England Team.
As Scotland have matched England win for win so far, it seemed like a good idea to check out how the Scottish girls felt about their chances in the upcoming Women's International against England this Saturday. So, before checking with the powers that be in Scotland, as one does, I typed SWRU (Scottish Women's Rugby Union) into Google, and awaited a response. A nanosecond later I was presented with the aims of the SWRU and they are as follows:
1. To maintain a kill/death ratio of one to one without using potent weapons;
2. To not lose too badly in the occasional clan war.
But hey! This is rugby not war, and I had ventured onto another website with the same acronym in error.
So, I proceeded to option two and contacted the SWRU and a few phone calls later I was talking with the SWRU forwards coach Andy Henderson and was immediately reassured by his measured and friendly response:

RT: Andy, having won your first three matches in the women's Six Nations there must be optimism about a possible Scottish grand slam?
AH: I am optimistic, but England can prepare better than us because of the funding that they have behind them. Unlike England we don't have full time players. Our girls have to hold down full time jobs or studies as well as meeting a tight training schedule. But the new coaching team that has been introduced this year has really brought the squad together and they are making very big advances."

RT: Scotland have beaten Ireland 25-0 and France away from home 19-14 and had a very close result against the Welsh girls just winning by 9 to 8. But England thrashed the Welsh in Cardiff by 69 to 7.
AH: The result against Wales was a psychological thing. We beat France 19-14 and it was an absolutely terrific performance by our girls, but I think that some of the girls must have thought, having beaten France you are automatically given a ticket to beat Wales. After all France as a team are very much on the crest and went further than us in the Women's World Cup last year.
It isn't that the girls had discounted Wales but they hadn't got into their heads that every international game is a difficult one and there are no clear cuts as far as winning or losing is concerned. But, to be realistic, it was probably the best way the result could have gone as a preparation for our game with England."

RT: From the Scottish point of view where do you see the strength of the English team?Shelley Rae has a nice boot!
AH: We have had a good look at the video footage of the England games and have networked with the other coaches and they (England) haven't been tested yet.
We will be testing them and they will possibly experience something that they have yet to experience in the Six Nations. It will be interesting to find out how they cope with that.
There is no doubt that they are a very competent side and they have great athletes throughout the team particularly the back three and especially Chris Diver, who appears to be absolutely on fire, but we will be taking measures to try and combat that. The English back three is definitely an area that we will want to shut down if we can and if we succeed it will be interesting to see what plan they resort to, because they have never had to resort to anything else."
They have a nice midfield with very good striking abilities. Their number 12 sets targets and Shelley Rae can kick the goals as well as kick from hand. She has a very good boot."

RT: The Women's Jonny Wilkinson?
AH: She links very well but she doesn't really have a go herself and we know for a fact that if we can get people in her face it affects her game."

Sue Day in action!RT: What do you see as the strengths of the Scottish team?
AH: We have to acknowledge that upfront is where we shall be trying to do most of our work. We shall be taking the ball on in small units and attempting to create disorganisation in the England defence. There is no point in us producing ball for our backs to run one on one, because they (England) are a very competent unit in defence as well.
We will really have to be on our game but there will be no need to get the girls fired up for this game. The Scotland - England thing of old is self-perpetuating and the fact that this is the "ould enemy" means that psychologically we will be up for it anyway.
We want to be as ferocious and aggressive as we can upfront because it is probably the only way that we can guarantee keeping the ball and being able to produce phases of play. As Geoff Richards has been quoted as saying (Rugby Times March 6th) "You need to play against the best, and at the moment, of the Women's Six Nations England are certainly looking like the best."

Andy Henderson's remarks carry a promise that the England Scotland game will be well contested and exciting. I just can't wait!

Oh, and by the way, the SWRU that Google found for me was the STUPID WEAPONS RESPONSE UNIT. Don't believe me: - Try it yourself!

As published in Rugby Times March 20th 2003


How wrong is the perception that all my England team are full time rugby players.

Of the twenty two that are in the squad for Saturday's match seventeen are in full time employment, three work part time, one is a student, and one is full time rugby but also does some part time work. The vast majority have to juggle their work and training/playing commitments as do the vast majority of international women players.

Undoubtedly our lottery funding does help our players and allows us to run a good development program throughout the RFUW. However it is through the sheer hard work and dedication of our players and staff that we have been able to achieve the current level of performances and results.

The article will give my team plenty of ammunition and they are looking forward enormously to the challenges of Saturday's match against Scotland.