Rugby Union: Waterloo line is expensive

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The Independent Online
Saracens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70

Waterloo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

WOMEN'S rugby has a cash and credibility crisis. On the pitch, as Saracens proved at London Welsh yesterday, the game is thriving. Saracens' one-sided win over Waterloo completed the second leg of an impressive double - they clinched the league championship last week.

But Waterloo epitomise the plight of the game. Reaching the final was double-edged. The trip and overnight stay for the North's first club to reach the final since the competition began seven years ago cost pounds 1,000, which they have to find.

Neither the cup, nor the league - both national competitions - has a sponsor. Obvious backers such as breweries apparently feel that product image would not sit right on the women's game. Mind you, they have not put it to the test.

Waterloo's coach, Steve Peters, who also props for the Courage Second Division club, does not care where the cash comes from, nor do any of the women's officials. 'If we could just have something towards costs it would be great,' he said.

Contributions towards travel seem an obvious channel for sponsors' money but Rosie Golbie, secretary of the Women's Rugby Football Union, has different ideas of where any cash should go. 'We need a full-time paid administrator,' she said, 'someone who could organise the national competitions as well as dealing with day- to-day inquiries. The WRFU is run by volunteers and tends to overlap into our professional lives.'

Although recognised by Twickenham, the women get no financial or administrative support from the RFU since the WRFU is effectively a Home Unions organisation that is rapidly becoming as unmanageable as Saracens were yesterday.

Saracens: Tries E Mitchell, Cole 4, Almond 3, Cave 3, J Mitchell; Conversions Almond 5.

Saracens: J Mitchell; M Wilson, M Cave, J Potter, A Cole; K Almond, E Mitchell; J Byford, F Hackett, K Ball, L Burgess (capt), J Walker (J Fenwick, 46), S Thomas, J Ross, M Fitzgibbon.

Waterloo: A Curtis; C Weir, L Donnohue, D Lumsden, K Yau; J Molyneux, A O'Flynn; J Mangham, B Jones-Evans, N Ordman, J Henderson, C Bradley, D Shone, C Thomas, G Burns (capt).

Referee: A Evans (London).

(Photograph omitted)