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Alphonsi’s girls enjoy divisional festival finish

04 April 2012

  • Coaching clinics, training and matches for U15s and U18s
  • North and South West finish U18 season with wins
Essex U18s at RFUW Divisional Festival left to right: Cat Pugh, Yasmin Pemberton, Maggie Alphonsi, Maddy Lockwood

Photo: RFU/Rugbymatters

The competition phase of the Rugby Football Union for Women’s (RFUW) divisional programme for 2011-12 came to a successful conclusion with a festival of matches, training and coaching for Under 15 and under 18 teams at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire over the weekend of March 31 and April 1.

Each of the four divisional under 15 sides played 40-minute matches against the other three divisions, while the U18s completed their season’s series with the North defeating London 22-14 and the South West as 49-5 winners over the Midlands.

There were also coaching clinics split into forwards and backs, attended by international players Danielle Waterman, La Toya Mason and Isabelle Noel Smith as well as a number of RFUW divisional coaches who gave the girls a different perspective to build their personal development.

All the girls may hope to follow the example of Maggie Alphonsi, the England Women’s international flanker who is the London & South East talent development officer.

Alphonsi, who recently helped England Women win a sixth Six Nations Grand Slamin seven seasons, was on hand at Hartpury to run her experienced eye over all four divisions’ budding stars.

"Overall the divisional programme has been a great success and I am pleased by the number of good players we have had come through the pathway," said Alphonsi.

"With this being the last set of fixtures for both U18 and U15 age groups all divisions were looking to end on a high and demonstrate their skills."

Gary Street, Izzy Collis (Sussex and South Sussex Barbarians - L&SE U15s player of divisional festival), Danielle Waterman, Maggie Alphonsi - prize of signed England Grand Slam winners' jersey

Photo: RFU/Rugbymatters

Each of the four divisions selected a player of the festival.

Izzy Collis (Sussex and South Sussex Barbarians) and Scarlett Millen (Kent and Folkestone) were the London & South East winners in the U15s and 18s respectively, for their overall contribution across the weekend.

The next step for all the players in the RFUW divisional programme this season is the chance to be selected for national talent development groups.

Around 30 players each will go to an Under 15s camp at Wellington College, and three camps for the U18s, while others may be involved in summer training camps.

Development of players is the principal aim in the RFUW divisional programme, which runs at three age levels – seniors, U18s and U15s – and forms an integral part of the RFUW Player Pathway helping talented girls move from club rugby to representing their county, their division and their country.

RFUW Divisional U18 fixtures 2012

February 19: London & South East 19 South West 38 at Esher; Midlands 13 North 12 at Five Ways OE.

March 18: Midlands 7 London & South East 27 at Five Ways OE; South West 29 North 5 at Hartpury College.

April 1: London & South East 14 North 22; South West 49 Midlands 5; both at Hartpury College.

RFUW Divisional U15 fixtures 2012

February 19: London & South East 52 South West 17 at Esher; Midlands 10 North 24 at Five Ways OE.

Festival, March 31/April 1 at Hartpury College: Midlands 19 North 15; London & South East 24 South West 15; North 17 London & South East 10; South West 17 Midlands 24; Midlands 0 London & South East 29; South West 5 North 36.