When the Saints met Channel 5
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OA Saints Officials & CoachesUpdated August 2017
Team Update 2017-18
A new approach in how we play and building depth in our squad has reaped rewards, finishing a strong 3rd position in Championship South East 2 League last season, winning 12 out of 16 games. A key result of this has been the strong links we have with the Junior Saints transitioning into Women’s rugby and contributing immensely in latter half of last season.
The league has changed yet again with Blackheath finally getting the promotion they deserve as they have been fighting to go up for many years. There was no playoff either due to the big changes with the RFU Women’s League structure. Southwold was relegated and Lewes Ladies have moved up, so we look forward to a coach trip to east Sussex which will involve a few beverages on the way back! We were offered promotion to Championship North 1 by the RFU as we met their criteria but after a player meeting we decided to stay down and keep building our squad which is best for where we are as club currently.
New RFU initiatives include Inner Warrior Camps hosted at hundreds of rugby clubs all over the country are a way of encouraging girls and ladies to try rugby and ‘release their inner warrior’! The Saints hosted their Camp in May and had at least nine new players with a range of abilities keen to join.
Development tournaments have opened up aimed to push the development of 2nd teams within ladies rugby and also ease the transition from junior to senior. Saints will be participating at Hackney RFC on the 1st October. A new regulation brought in this year is girls of 17 years old can now register to play Women’s rugby but not at front row level until they are 18. This is fantastic for us as we have some talented junior saints coached and managed by Craig Ihlenfeldt and team. The Saints Junior girls are now the biggest and most thriving in Hertfordshire.
Head Coach Darren Brown moves into his second season with a strong focus to win the league with a developing 2nd XV looking to enter the merit league. Preseason has started earlier this year as Vice Club Captain Julia Holmes has brought in Strength and Conditioning Coach Jono Cave to kick things off. S & C sessions are key to build core strength, mobility, recovery and Jono’s expertise will be factored in at key points within our season. The saints have a friendly on August 20th against Reading Abbey Nuns in preparation for the first league game which takes place away at Chesham on Sunday 10th September.
I personally would like to welcome Henry Clear to the Saints as our Backs’s/Development Coach. He will be supporting Darren and eventually look after our development 2nd XV. Henry is from Hertfordshire and played for OAs in the 3rd and 4th XV a few years ago before moving to the West Country. He was a pioneer for Saracens running their community kids events as well as being involved in U12s and U15s at OAs. He is now keen to get back into coaching and is excited to be part of the Saints for a new Challenge.
The season doesn’t end once the league and Cup matches are over, county rugby selection begins. I am proud to say a huge chunk of the saints achieved Herts County honours and their contribution lead to three out of four wins against Somerset, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Essex. It sounds like all work and no play but this is not the case! The Saints enjoy many planned social events in conjunction with the men’s section of the club, new Saint’s Initiation and after match fines and frolics! The Saints are well known for their UK and Overseas Rugby Tours and this year was a no different in a trip to Itlay where they participated in the Milan 7s. The Saints provide rugby at all levels of ability so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never picked up a rugby ball before or you’ve been playing for years. We welcome anyone to join our community and fantastic facility at Woollams Playing Fields in St Albans.
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