Women's Rugby thread

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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

Post by eldanielfire »

As if it wasn't obvious form the commentary she was doing recently Nolli Waterman announced she has retired from all Rugby now. Greatest Full Back of all time IMO.

Her retirement interview with Stephen Jones (Who if nothing else has always supported Women's Rugby)

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/spor ... 1599364922

Danielle Waterman: The full back ‘who tried to take on the world’ calls time on her career
String of injuries forced Danielle Waterman to take toughest choice
Stephen Jones, Rugby Correspondent
Sunday September 06 2020, 12.01am, The Sunday Times

RICHARD POHLE/THE TIMES
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Danielle Waterman, the greatest full back that rugby has seen, world champion with England and one of the signature figures of the boom years of the women’s game, today announces her retirement from playing. She has played her last for Wasps.

Waterman, 35, could no longer prepare as diligently as she once had and therefore did not want to continue. She had already called time on her England career, in which she played 82 times for her country. She is the most intense sportsperson I have met, and I have met a few. It is nothing overt. But it burns just below the surface. “I grew up with two brothers,” she said. “If I wanted to play then I had to be good enough, so we’d physically battle.”

Waterman stands at 5ft 4in, but she put the 2010 World Cup in England on the map with a thunderous hit on the Australia wing Nicole Beck, after which Beck landed in another postcode. While she was the ultimate team player, she also had a glorious, box-office ability to go off message. After the World Cup semi-final in Paris in 2014, when England had beaten Ireland, I asked Gary Street, the head coach, if he felt Waterman had played a little too much attacking rugby considering the magnitude of the occasion?

“Maybe,” Street said. “But what can you do? Why would I tell Nolli to do anything different?” These are the words of the wisest of coaches, on the finest of players.

“It was my nature, and maybe I overplayed and tried to take on the world,” Waterman said. “But I also loved the tactical side, unpicking an opposing team over 80 minutes, working out their attacking strategies and their defensive structures.”


She has been in a few dark places. The reconstructions, broken bones, the time she ruptured a tendon in her toe when dropping a pair of scissors. Injury took its toll, physically and mentally. Before a match at Twickenham against Canada, having just come back from one of her worst injuries, she was passed fit but was in floods of tears in the dressing room. All the stress of lonely rehab spilt out, further pressure came from her implacable devotion to coming back better than before. She could not bear anyone
saying that she had declined as a player.

“Physically I had been able to do all the rehab but mentally I was probably three or four months behind my body,” she said. “I had to remove myself from the dressing room. Rick Porter, our physio, eventually managed to calm me. He gave me a ten-second countdown. As he began the count, he said that I was going to be fine, that I’d trained well and that; when he got to one, I was going to be a rugby player about to play a stormer.”


She had to rehab like mad, often on her own at Bisham Abbey, to be fit for the 2016 Olympics, suffered depression and anxiety as the Games neared, and indeed, spoke bravely in support of the Rugby Players Association “Lift the Weight” campaign, aimed at the mental problems multiplying in the sport.

Waterman made Rio but she never enjoyed it. “I wasn’t at a peak mentally and I felt really lonely in the team, I didn’t really agree with the culture. I’m also frustrated how I behaved at certain times on the trip.” The other painful career disappointment is obvious. England were flying during the 2017 World Cup in Ireland. “In the first half of the semi-final against France, I took what seemed an innocuous hit on the jaw.

“I was expecting a head injury test prior to possibly going back on but the doctor decided on an immediate removal. She said it was ataxia, which is when you stumble, and I had actually stumbled three times.

“It was only afterwards when it hit me. I had to go into the concussion protocol, which dictates a six-day stand-down and the tournament final was four days away.”

Then came the extra blows. She was told that she had to leave the team and her accreditation was taken away. She was even told by Nicky Ponsford of the RFU that she should not be on the touchline at training in case cameras picked her up. Petty does not describe it properly.

She realises that intensity, frustration and emotion went hand in hand and that she needed back-up. Her parents, Sue and Jim, the grand old Bath full back, were mighty supporters, so too were many team-mates — she treasured her players’ player of the season awards above all others.

“I had fantastic coaches and mentors like Susie Appleby [now of Exeter] and the Giselle Pragnell [of Wasps]. I also grew up with some of the most incredible players, like Georgia Stevens and Liza Burgess, they were just tough women, they would knock flipping hell out of each other.

Bewilderingly, others were not so sympathetic. She expected nothing, but it is still amazing how Twickenham marked her retirement after such a glittering career. “I got nothing when I retired from England, I didn’t get an email from the RFU, I got nothing from Nicky Ponsford.

“One summer I’d gone to Devon and worked in a garage and when I left, I was given a card and a box of chocolates to say thank you. That was more than I got for playing for England.”

Perhaps Waterman’s mistake has been to be too good and too high in profile. Sometimes, rugby chills the blood.

And as for relaxing into retirement: she is an ambassador for HSBC, Guinness and Gallagher, she has her own podcast, she has already broadcast for ITV, BBC and Channel 4 and is now working towards a Level 4 coaching certificate.

Waterman still has the golden touch. Simone Moretti, her boyfriend, plays for a team of former firefighters in Italy called the Cavaliers.

“He was going over to China to play in the world firefighters and police Games for his over-35 team and I was supposed to be going over to make my debut as a WAG.”

But when the coach of the main Italian team could not travel, Waterman was asked to coach them in the main tournament. “They were incredibly welcoming and respectful, the boys were overwhelmed that someone with my rugby CV was coaching them and I was overwhelmed I was coaching this men’s team into a competition.”

They won gold. Of course they did.

The passion in her stays strong. When you are as driven as Danielle Waterman, it makes it so difficult to settle for anything bar perfection. But that also takes you dramatically close to it.
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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With Jazmin Fleming going to Sarries

https://twitter.com/WomensRugbyShow/sta ... 19553?s=20


I always rated Fleming, I think she could be England's Full Back.

Worcester Warriors have gained Matthews and Fisher, that is a HUGE increase in power from their back row there. Worcester are really an up and coming team right now. Watch out for them.

https://twitter.com/WorcsWarriorsW/stat ... 0333681665
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Good piece on Shaunagh Brown and how her look is making Rugby more attractive to more people:

Shaunagh Brown took centre stage at the England kit launch this month, confirmation of the impact the prop is having in rugby following her meteoric rise. Five years ago, Brown was a hammer thrower, training at the same track as sprint sensation Dina Asher-Smith; now she is a regular on the pitch and playing an equally important role off it in amplifying the message of racial diversity in a predominantly white sport.

“It’s really not a five-minute chat when people ask what I’ve done before rugby,” says the 30-year-old, who is eyeing a spot in England’s squad for next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, the one-year countdown for which begins on Friday. Nor is it a half-hour Zoom call.

Brown’s first game of XVs came on Dec 18 2015, aged 25. Within two years, she received her first England call-up while training to be a firefighter and had to beg Kent Fire and Rescue service to grant her leave for her debut.

Before that was a career in athletics, the highlight of which saw her compete for England in the hammer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Then, her job as a commercial diver, which required her to hoover up silt from the bed of the Thames, along with a stint in boxing and an appearance at the Highland Games in Scotland.

Raised in Kennington, south London, to a Jamaican father and English mother, Brown was brought up acutely aware of her black heritage. From a young age she was surrounded by women and girls of colour at Blackheath and Bromley Harriers, the same athletics club where an array of British sprinting talent, including Asher-Smith, the 200 metres world champion, and Asha Philip, learnt their trade.

Shaunagh Brown of Great Briatin in action in the Girls Discus Throw during the 5th IAAF Youth World Championships at the City Stadium
Brown competed in the discus at the World Youth Athletics Championships in 2007 CREDIT: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
“I’m still part of the club, I still have membership there and still get the emails about all the AGMs,” Brown says. “I was even vice-president of it for a year as well, which was cool. And yeah, I stay in touch with my athletics friends, like Dina Asher-Smith and her mum. Dina’s great, her mum is incredible. Asha is also one of my best friends, we roomed together at our first World Youth Games together in 2007 in the Czech Republic.”

The racial diversity Brown encountered in her athletics circles is an experience she cannot vouch for in rugby. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, she was part of the working group set up by the Rugby Football Union ahead of the Premiership’s restart and the “Rugby Against Racism” campaign, alongside former England player, Ugo Monye.

She hopes a similar group can be formed for when the Premier 15s, the domestic league in which she plays for Harlequins, starts again. It is not an easy role. Her prominence in the recent England kit launch campaign caused some to question whether she was being featured because of her race.

“People will joke I was only included because I’m mixed race,” she says. “I’m fine with that. If me, being mixed race, being female, and having my hair out, makes 10, 20, 30 girls or boys want to have a go at rugby, or even makes them interested, then the job is done.

“I’ve had loads of awkward conversations,” she says. “Sometimes I’ve not even been the one to start them, which is good. I’ve had people ask me questions. They think it’s awkward because they’ve never asked before, but now it’s becoming a bit more normal.

Shaunagh Brown and Vickii Cornborough pose for a photo following their sides victory in the Women's Six Nations Tournament match between France and England
Shaunagh Brown and Vickii Cornborough pose for a photo following their sides victory in the Women's Six Nations Tournament match between France and England CREDIT: Naomi Baker/The RFU Collection via Getty Images
“It was good for me on a personal level to start being more vocal about being black and being a minority in life, work, in sport, in the gym. People will say, ‘Why does that matter?’ It’s the recognition of difference.”

That extends to hair. French plaits and braids have become an almost warrior-like trait in the women’s game, along with the practical bonus of not being caught in rucks and tackles. Game-day hair is less time-consuming for Brown who, like the black British swimmer Alice Dearing, wears out every natural afro curl as an empowering affirmation of her mixed-race identity. It is this organic choice which resonates on a deeper level than some of the striking forms of activism that have emerged in the wake of the BLM movement.

“In America’s WNBA, they’re doing very in-your-face gestures, which is great, because someone needs to do it,” Brown says. “But me personally, I relate more to somebody like Alice Dearing, who is talking about what seems like small subjects which people can easily brush off. People will say, ‘I don’t believe people wouldn’t go swimming because of hair, it’s not that big’ – but I can relate to that. I’d offer them to shave all of their hair off and see how they feel getting through life.”

Next year’s World Cup will be Brown’s first, having been a newcomer to rugby at the time of the 2017 tournament, where England were edged out by New Zealand in the final watched by a peak audience of 2.6 million on ITV.

“That was a big thing,” Brown says. “I always remember watching [England player] Harriet Millar-Mills, what a woman. She was just wrecking the place and carrying the ball through everyone. I thought, ‘I wanted to be like her, that could be me one day.’”
Having spoken to her at a few Harlequins games she's also chatty, full of banter and always goes to interact with the crowd and take pictures after a game.
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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A worry about the state of Irish women's rugby. An article about Steed saying it won't go professional in the current climate:

https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2020/092 ... going-pro/
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union ... -cant-say/

Sarah and Charlie Beckett interview: 'She is a better rugby player than me - I can't say how proud I am'
No rivalry for rugby-mad siblings as they help each other out on their rise to the top of the game

By
Kate Rowan
10 October 2020 • 8:30am
Sarah Beckett has made a rapid rise to the top of the women's game
Sarah Beckett has impressed a lot in a short space of time on her way to becoming an England international CREDIT: PAUL GROVER

Charlie Beckett’s first rugby memory of younger sister Sarah is of an eight-year-old girl desperate to prove to her team-mates that she could tackle her 11-year-old brother. She broke her arm.

That sort of determination has defined Sarah Beckett’s rise to the top of the women’s game. At just 21, the No.8, having initially been rejected at two England Under-20s trials, now has 17 senior Test caps to her name and was a Six Nations Grand Slam winner last year after only six international appearances.

Sarah established herself as a star of the women’s game as a teenager with Waterloo on Merseyside before moving south to Harlequins, who have twice been Premier 15s runners-up since its inception in 2017.

So, no wonder Charlie, the Gloucester and England Under-20 back rower, has been at the end of some ribbing from his Kingsholm team-mates about living in her shadow since joining them on a short-term deal during rugby’s Covid-enforced hiatus.


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Compared with Sarah, Charlie’s career has been much more of a slow burn. After joining the Leicester Tigers academy aged 16 and being part of the England side to reach the 2015 Under-20s World Cup final, it took the lock-cum-back row forward until last month to make his first Premiership appearance. But he takes no offence at the jokes; it is only pride he feels.

Sarah Beckett has won 17 England caps so far and looks destined to win many more
Sarah Beckett (centre) has won 17 England caps so far and looks destined to win many more CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
“She is better than me,” he says matter-of-factly. “A lot of the time, the lads like to joke about my sister’s career is going better than mine, but it couldn’t wind me up less.”

His voice conveys greater emotion when he adds: “I can’t put into words just how proud I am to be Sarah Beckett’s brother. I have had a front-row seat to watch an unbelievable career path of someone who is 21 and hasn’t lost a Six Nations game. She physically dominates the best players in the world in Test matches and she is still in her rugby development.

“She has achieved more than I ever have, she has more England caps than I ever will have, she has played more Premiership games, she has more recognition than me – but I couldn’t be happier.”

After some time speaking to the Becketts, one cannot help forming the impression that Charlie takes the role of protective big brother rather seriously. This goes back to the pair’s childhood, along with Sarah’s twin, Kate. The trio went from being siblings to “best mates” due to their parents’ separation when Charlie was 10 and girls seven.

Sarah politely bats off her brother’s praise and instead points it in the opposite direction.

“Between the three of us, we have a bond that not many siblings are fortunate to have,” she says. “Growing up, we went through our parents’ split and that brought us closer together.

“Charlie was a real rock, being the older sibling, and he took us under his wing being protective. But he could give it out as good as we would give it to him.”

The pair thank Kate for being their family’s “unsung hero” after sacrificing much of her free time as a child to be a spectator to her two rugby-mad siblings, but they also emphasise they had the support of their parents, Suzie and Mark.

Charlie Beckett, who moved to Gloucester on a short-term deal this year, has watched his sister's development as an international with pride
Charlie Beckett, who moved to Gloucester on a short-term deal this year, has watched his sister's development as an international with pride CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
“I felt I needed to be that anchor for the twins through the split,” says Charlie. “Big brothers are protective naturally but I am extremely protective because of our family situation. But I want to make clear we had an unbelievable childhood. This isn’t a sob story, we have brilliant parents but they split and it meant we had two loving homes. I just understood it better than the girls as I was older, and that is why we are the way we are.

“Everyone when they are young want to be professional sportspeople but most parents will say to kids when they are teenagers, ‘What do you really want to be?’ But with our parents, it was whatever you want to be.”

While Charlie and Sarah say they have never had a serious argument, their bond has meant having some difficult conversations around their rugby careers. Charlie initially was not keen on Sarah leaving Waterloo, which is close to their father’s home in Blundellsands and where they grew up playing.

“That conversation stood out for me,” says Sarah. “I knew Charlie would give me honest advice and he knows the point of view I am coming from a lot, but it was different that time because he is always surrounded by professionals whereas I was the only one. I had to explain and talk how my life is different.”

But one area where they always agree is on the promotion of the women’s game.

“For every troll who says stupid things on social media because it is a women’s sport, there are 10 people who genuinely want to know about it but they are not as vocal in their support as the people who say nasty things and use nasty words,” says Charlie. “Saying nice things doesn’t get the same attention.”

Sarah chips in: “This is where we need people from the men’s game to come in. They have more followers and more sponsorship and opportunities, which we as female athletes don’t have yet to promote ourselves. It could be as simple as male players with bigger platforms saying the game is on.”

That is one area Sarah’s brother has covered, as Charlie could easily serve as both a publicist for her and for English women’s rugby.

“If her career ended tomorrow, she would be successful,” he says. “I just want my little sister to be happy, and if that means being the best female rugby player in the world – and let’s be honest, that is where this career is heading, although she will deny that – I just want her to enjoy life and remember me when she is the best.”
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Nieg, here's a few bits about how Exeter set-up, including how they had to advertise to fans on the website to ask for rooms and homes that could be rented, the head coach and the club trying to find jobs for their new players and how their two Spanish players joined, by driving 2000km in a camper van:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihhiVSXxUjM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvgZeWQg1RI

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/52966167

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/54282318
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Scrumqueens - Women’s Rugby
@ScrumQueens
O2 sign a new five-year partnership with
@EnglandRugby

and pledge to equally fund the men’s and women’s game as part of the deal.
9:34 AM · Oct 19, 2020·Twitter Web App
Great news, though I wonder what "equal funding actually means?"
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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eldanielfire wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:19 pm A worry about the state of Irish women's rugby. An article about Steed saying it won't go professional in the current climate:

https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2020/092 ... going-pro/
It's never been pro though Eld.

I think the greater question is how do they generate significantly more money to get it off the ground?
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Wendigo7 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:54 pm
eldanielfire wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:19 pm A worry about the state of Irish women's rugby. An article about Steed saying it won't go professional in the current climate:

https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2020/092 ... going-pro/
It's never been pro though Eld.

I think the greater question is how do they generate significantly more money to get it off the ground?
I never indicated it's been pro. But there is plenty of money in Irish rugby, making a group of elite women be paid will cost them very little relatively. There's no reason why they can't.
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Wasps take care of Worcester. Ellie Kildunne with another golden solo try near the end. IMO the back 3 for England are all in this game Dow-Kildunne-Thompson. Those 3 have to be the most devastating ball in hand runners in the game. I don't think even the kiwi's have any single player who would fit into that back 3.

Wasps pack certainly look meatier than 2 years ago. A shame Quins and Saracens are so dominate against every one else. Can I also say I love how Wasps kit looks on their women.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpCOUl1-hs8
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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Epic effort by Scotland to draw with a malfunctioning France. Makes England 6 Nations victors.
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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eldanielfire wrote: Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:05 pm Epic effort by Scotland to draw with a malfunctioning France. Makes England 6 Nations victors.
Sat back with beer to watch this on "record" last night, wondering whether France would get anywhere near the 50 point haul England had managed, pre-corona.

Audrey Forlani and Romane Menager were missed from the squad but Romane's twin, Marine, unbelievably, fumbled 3 passes at wing in the first half. Not especially threatening, the Scots were nevertheless always in French faces, especially at the breakdown, and were just "done" by a couple of (boring) rolling mauls from 5m. at the start of each half.

They never gave up and with France reduced to 14 through injury, MOM Jade Konkel joined the line, slipped the opposing centre and drew the winger to pass in the tackle to debutant wing Shankland for a jubilant, late try. Followed by a nerveless equalising touchline conversion.

Scotland the Brave :thumbup: Congrats also to Champions, England. The two test Autumn series for les feminins looking somewhat daunting ;). Can England triumph in the WRWC in NZ next year?
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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eldanielfire wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:18 pm Wasps take care of Worcester. Ellie Kildunne with another golden solo try near the end. IMO the back 3 for England are all in this game Dow-Kildunne-Thompson. Those 3 have to be the most devastating ball in hand runners in the game. I don't think even the kiwi's have any single player who would fit into that back 3.

Wasps pack certainly look meatier than 2 years ago. A shame Quins and Saracens are so dominate against every one else. Can I also say I love how Wasps kit looks on their women.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpCOUl1-hs8
I guess the RFU decides which teams its players are in. Going the Irish route of having them all playing in a couple of teams might change in a few years with any luck.
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eldanielfire
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Re: Women's Rugby thread

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message #2527204 wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:52 pm
eldanielfire wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:18 pm Wasps take care of Worcester. Ellie Kildunne with another golden solo try near the end. IMO the back 3 for England are all in this game Dow-Kildunne-Thompson. Those 3 have to be the most devastating ball in hand runners in the game. I don't think even the kiwi's have any single player who would fit into that back 3.

Wasps pack certainly look meatier than 2 years ago. A shame Quins and Saracens are so dominate against every one else. Can I also say I love how Wasps kit looks on their women.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpCOUl1-hs8
I guess the RFU decides which teams its players are in. Going the Irish route of having them all playing in a couple of teams might change in a few years with any luck.
The RFU doesn't decide on any player being anywhere. Though rumours have gone round that being close to headquarters is a nice advantage. However many dispute that.

It also helps most women's players have been graduates and the usual graduate attraction of London are abound. I believe also that as most players work, London again has the opportunity for clubs to link with businesses and have accommodating jobs on offer for players. Quins I know also offer housing.
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