England Six Nations champions & possible changes to the game
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
The quality of rugby has been clear and obvious in women’s English rugby, with 17 titles out of a possible 26 since the inception of the competition in 1995/96.
Another title to add to the trophy room, and England really are leading the way in northern hemisphere rugby.
It was fantastic to see the game getting centre stage with the female Six Nations running at a different time to the Men’s tournament.
For the game to grow, it needs exposure and, with Exeter Chiefs women showing some amazing performances in their first year in the Allianz Premier 15s, the game looks to have a new outlet of elite rugby in the south-west, plus role models that inspire more growth and participation within the game.
Growth and change have many different forms within rugby and perhaps now more than ever, it is important that we look to innovate or challenge the norms of the structure and traditions.
An immediate example is adjusted contact rules in order to offer an alternative game with differing rules to allow competition at all levels. But there has also been talk of adjustments to the ways leagues are structured or even the addition of new or modified cup competitions to increase interest and ultimately attendance throughout the rugby pyramid.
I am one for change, especially when you look toward cup competitions and maybe the introduction of an FA Cup style competition, with teams dreaming of possible David vs Goliath moments.
A crossover of professional and amateur clubs would maybe be a step too far but I would certainly love to entertain the likes of Plymouth or Taunton at the Blackmore for a cup match, with a partisan bumper crowd.
Tim Miller, who is leading an independent review of the County Championship, has spoken of the desire and possibilities of improving the County game and bringing back large crowds to the games that have been well attended in years gone by.
Perhaps the County game is a place for growth, interest and innovation? With Cornwall vs Devon at Twickenham being a mouth-watering event, think of the list of players that could run out for those teams!