One of the great injustices in the history of rugby took place in 2007, it was noticed by many but largely ignored by the majority of global rugby followers.
Disculpas a todos mis “amigos” españoles por no poder escribir este artículo en español mi conocimiento del idioma consiste sólo en café con leche tostada y mantequilla y la cuenta.
At the time Spain were a competitive and integral part of the women’s 6 nations tournament, they joined in 2000 and were placed as high as third in the table in the 2000, 2001 and 2004 championships.
As RBS were being announced as tournament sponsors, the 6 Nations governing body decided to remove Spain from the tournament, permanently in 2007 and replace them with Italy.
With the obvious huge implications of such an event, there would, you imagine, be a long list of compelling reasons to justify such a course of action.
But in fact there was only one !
The reason Spain were replaced by Italy was so that the women’s tournament would directly mirror the men’s, in terms of the identity of teams competing.
So because their male counterparts did not play in the men’s 6 nations tournament, Spain women were cruelly cast aside.
To add insult to injury Spain’s record against Italy was, and is still is,overwhelmingly in favour of the ladies in red, Spain have beaten Italy nine times in a total of eleven matches.
Women’s rugby has moved on in leaps and bounds since 2007,both in popularity, skill set, and the very high standards of refereeing, by a group of officials that are a credit to themselves and the game.
We owe Spain big time for the shoddy treatment that was handed out to them, for setting them back, both financially and developmentally, and for depriving them any top quality opposition on a regular basis.
The hard facts are indisputable, when you look at Spain’s record against the current 6 nations teams.
Spain have beaten Wales in 6 out of 9 meetings , Ireland in 5 out of 9, and Italy in 9 out of 11 encounters.
When you also take into account the fact that Spain have beaten Scotland, home and away, in recent weeks, to qualify for next years women’s rugby World Cup in Ireland, the case for Spain’s inclusion is hard to ignore.
Spain would enhance the tournament without doubt, I haven’t met one player who doesn’t support, and indeed welcome, the concept of Spain joining, so to those that run our game, you have a moral obligation to right a big wrong, to do the decent thing, and in 2018, exactly eleven years after Italy took their place in the 6 Nations, invite Spain back where they belong.
Vamos Leonas !