Waratah’s slam BACKWARDS suggestion from England to enable female rugby players to continue conversions: ‘Slap in the face for the girls’
- Simon Middleton’s radical suggestion has been filtered
- He wants to see conversions come closer from the sidelines
- Wallaroos great Ash Hewson felt it would be a ‘step backwards’
A suggestion by England women’s rugby coach Simon Middleton that players be allowed to kick conversions further in from touch has been rejected by Wallaroos great Ash Hewson.
Middleton recently offered the idea publicly with England’s first-choice kicker Zoe Harrison sidelined due to a knee injury – and missing the first few games of the Women’s Six Nations Championship.
Teammate Holly Aitchison has tried to fill the void – with limited success – in Tests against Scotland and Italy, prompting Middleton to make the radical suggestion.
“I think we need to change the parameters for kicking a goal,” Middleton told reporters this week.
“If a try is scored (within five yards of the touchline), the option has to be there, maybe not to bring it into the 15-yard line, but maybe 10 yards from the touchline.
A suggestion by England women’s rugby coach Simon Middleton (pictured) that players be allowed to kick conversions further in has been criticized
Wallaroos great Ash Hewson has called Middleton’s suggestion a “step backwards.”
“I think that can influence the game and change it for the better.
“I think it’s a bit of an unfair game for female kickers because a lot of kicking on goal depends on power.
“You want to be rewarded for good skill and hard practice and I don’t think they (women) are rewarded for physical limitations that come with what we know is a natural discrepancy between male and female athletes.”
Hewson, who captained the Wallaroos and NSW Waratahs before retiring from the sport in 2019, was stunned by Middleton’s suggestion and felt it would be a ‘step backwards’.
“I think there are plenty of female rugby players, past and present, who can kick anywhere on the pitch as well as their male counterparts. They’re usually half the size, too,’ the jailer told the The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The most important thing to me is that we have fought so long and so hard for equality in women’s sport in general – not just rugby – and we still have such a long way to go.
“There are plenty of women in the Super W league right now who can hit a ball, they just lack a little bit of that technique. ‘Due to a lack of resources, that was never really recognized or worked on.’
Campbell Aitken, the NSW Waratahs women’s coach, took the same line as Hewson, believing the idea for left field would be a ‘slap in the face to the girls’.