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The multiple women's rugby records Harlequins broke in Twickenham

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Harlequins Women are celebrating after breaking new ground in women’s rugby after Big Game 13 broke multiple records in Twickenham.

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On the 27th of December, almost 9,000 people packed into English rugby’s HQ to watch Quins beat Wasps 29 – 5. The crowd surpassed the previous world record for women’s club rugby by nearly 5,000 people.

The previous record was also held by Harlequins Women, who attracted 4,837 fans to the Twickenham Stoop for the 2018/19 season’s Game Changer event, as the West London side faced Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC in the Premier Allianz 15s.

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Significantly, Big Game 13 was the first-ever competitive women’s club match to be hosted in ‘the home of rugby’.

According to the most recent BT Sport broadcast viewing figures, the event peaked at 99,000 viewers during the match. This is more than the 74,000 viewers who saw the 2020/21 league Allianz Premier 15s Final at Kingsholm Stadium last season, when Harlequins Women won their first Premier 15s title with a win against Saracens Women.

The Women’s Big Game received approximately 700,000 digital impressions across social media, making it Harlequins Women’s biggest mid-season event yet and driving further growth for the league’s most-followed team.

“Hosting a record breaking match at Twickenham stadium is something we are very proud to have achieved as we continually strive to grow the Women’s game,” said Harlequins CEO Laurie Dalrymple. “We recently began hosting our home league matches at The Stoop and continue to look to support our athletes with first rate facilities and backroom support. Our players are ambassadors not only for the Club, but also elite women’s sport and we are incredibly proud that they can be role models for future generations of players and supporters.”

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Responding to questions why the Women’s team did not have bespoke, fitted shirts for the event, Dalrymple responded: “We can fully appreciate the challenge and desire for the Women to have bespoke shirts for this event. As a Club, we are constantly challenging ourselves and our partners to raise the bar and while the reality is that our kit suppler Adidas only makes one fit of the jersey, it is something that we are working on and will shortly announce positive news for the 2022/23 season”.

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finn 8 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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