England women’s national rugby team—the Red Roses—won the 2022 Women’s Six Nations tournament with yet another Grand Slam victory. A “Grand Slam” occurs when a team won every game that they play in the tournament. In total, the Roses have won the tournament 18 out of 27 times. This includes 16 Grand Slam victories and 22 Triple Crown victories. A “Triple Crown” victory means defeating the Home Nations, which is made up of England, Scotland, and Wales. So, ultimately, the question that needs to be asked is what has made England women’s national rugby team so consistent, and can it last?
- They have strength in depth.
Even when a key player is injured, there is always an equal substitution. All players want to be selected to play in the World Cup, so they train their hardest and view tournaments such as the Six Nations as trial games.
- They are versatile.
The women’s team has a handful of players whose versatility can give them the advantage over their opposition. They have props who can run in 40-metre tries, backs who can comfortably switch between positions, and a line-breaking forward pack that can offload the ball in the wide channels and exploit gaps in the defence.
- They are well conditioned.
The women’s team have a strict conditioning regime involving skill work that applies to all aspects of the game. A typical training session has the players working on agility, strength, speed, and pace. Not only that, but these sessions also focus on the small details such as strengthening the wrists and doing dumbbell rows while emulating a rucking position.
This all very impressive; however, there are concerns that England women’s rugby dominance in the Six Nations could just be because other teams in the tournament are simply not willing to invest in their women’s sides as much as they do in their men’s rugby teams. Ex-England rugby player Brian Moore even went as far to suggest that the women’s national team should play against England men’s under 18 and 20 sides to prepare for the World Cup in October 2022. These comments were indeed met with a backlash on Twitter.
Nonetheless, my guess is that England women’s rugby prowess will be put to the test if they get the opportunity to go against five-time world cup champions New Zealand in the World Cup. Despite losing to England in their last two meetings, New Zealand will have the advantage of being on home ground and will surely be looking to make amends 🏉
strength in depth 良い選手が多い
equal substitution 同等の能力がある代わりのプレイヤー
to invest in ～を…に注ぐ
to suggest 進める
to make amends 取り戻す