So the Women’s Six Nations, it’s coming
around at a point where we’ve just had the World Rugby give the women’s game some world
rankings, so that’s going to put a little bit of a different spin on it.
Lynne, as an ex international you must be pleased that finally more and more little
strings to the bow to put the women’s game on par with the men’s are all coming together.
Yeah, it just seems to be just taking just step, by step, by step, just improving and
just getting I suppose the recognition that yes, it deserves. But we’ve always said
that we don’t deserve it until we’re good enough and I think we’re good enough now
and then things are just starting to fall into place.
So the world rankings, yes, just came out and there’s a good few Six Nations teams
there in the first six, a little bit reflective of where we finished in the 2014 World Cup,
but England obviously won in 2014. Yeah, certainly and just sort of looking at
the teams overall, the likes of Italy and, well, almost actually a little bit reference
to the men’s game where Italy and Scotland can be a little bit further behind. But certainly
France after that 2014 World Cup where they were capable of pretty inconsistent performances,
but something about how well they hosted that tournament and came together and their forwards.
And they now seem to have a platform that if another nation isn’t on top form, they
can really upset. They’ve sort of snuck in next to England and Ireland to be a real
force to be reckoned with. Yeah, absolutely. It’s a pity from a Six
Nations point of view, Italy and Scotland didn’t make the 2014 World Cup. So they
go back into the running, so trying to qualify for the next World Cup.
But when it comes to France, France hosted the 2014 World Cup in Marcoussis in 2014,
as I say, and from a viewership point of view, there were one million people that watched
the first night of the game, which was a Friday night game when France were playing. Those
viewing figures went to four million by the end of the World
Cup because of the impact that it made, which was phenomenal.
So as always, brilliant hosts and they certainly rose to the occasion as well and did quite
well. They beat Ireland in the 3-4 playoff. They have a whopping pack, a whopping pack,
that are so mobile. But again, a lot of the discussions at the moment are based around
the extractions of the 15s games for this year’s 7s, the Olympics in 2016.
Yeah, certainly. Huge game at Twickenham in this year’s Six Nations for the women. England
women will be hosting the Irish after the men’s internationals has taken place. So
what will it be like for those players playing at a big stadium like that and how do you
see that one going? Yeah, I think it will be tough. We played
in England in Twickenham in 2014, the year of the World Cup and we lost. We had beaten
England just before that the first time ever, so that was quite, that was tough. We’d
never, ever beaten England in England and so it was one of the things we’d never,
ever done. So there’s a first time for everything. I think we definitely can do it. If anything,
the year is now to be able to do it, but you know fabulous stage. England are outstanding
how they support the women’s game and we’ve been on Sky. The English
Women’s Premiership was recently on Sky 5 there as well, so that’s just fabulous.
That’s really, really great for the game. Yeah, excellent.
I interviewed Sarah Hunter recently and it takes a hell of a lot to stop her smiling.
She’s an extremely positive personality, but there’s real determination about how
England lost three games last year, which was the most ever, but also cumulatively the
same amount as they’ve lost in the previous five tournaments.
So there’s a real determination for England not to be this transitional state, although
they completely appreciate how big a shop window the Olympics will be. I think
they’re treating this tournament very seriously. Guys like the people who have perhaps been
left behind in that set up, the likes of Michelle Clarke and Sarah Hunter really need to step
up and bring on the likes of Ceri Large has been there a long time, a fair amount of time
now, and she’d be one that you’d look at to step up and lead a bit
as well. So yeah, interesting times and… Yeah, I do think so and I think that just
by nature, and the women’s rugby community is a small community and it is ever growing.
But just by virtue of that, everybody trains together, you know? So there is that element,
there is professional structures there for obviously the women’s, the 7s squads, but
naturally the 15s squads, they train together or they should train together or they overlap
quite a lot. So naturally that’s just going to accelerate learning.
A lot of it’s just coming down to at the moment I think the changes that we’re seeing
are hugely strength conditioning based. I think that naturally skills take longer to
develop and obviously the under experience in the game takes longer again, so we can’t
fake that. But we’re seeing a lot of big changes in
the attrition in the game, the power of the game, the speed of the game, just because
of those strength and conditioning changes, because the 15 girls are training as hard
as the 7s are too and that’s obviously transferring to the quality of the 15s games, which is
all very positive.