Women’s rugby union has never been in a stronger position, with female participation rates and supporter numbers growing at a rapid rate across the world. In fact, according to World Rugby, the number of female fans continues to grow at more than six times the rate of male fans globally. Plus, the game is now played in 80+ countries worldwide and up to 500,000 women now take up the game each year.
This is unsurprising. After all, the growth of women’s rugby union so far has been rapid. The first edition of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 1991 wasn’t even approved by the International Rugby Board, but by 2003 the England women’s rugby team were playing games at Twickenham and the Scottish women’s rugby union team had played on the Murrayfield turf.
In 2016, women’s rugby finally reached the Olympics. Now, major tournaments like the Women’s Six Nations, the Women’s Rugby Super Series and the Women’s Rugby World Cup reach international television audiences, and matches are played in front of crowds that regularly exceed 10,000 spectators. Due to this, women’s rugby union looks set to go from strength to strength in the coming years.
Thanks to the growth of women’s rugby union globally, the sport is now edging towards professional level and stars such as Emily Scarratt, Kendra Cocksedge and Pauline Bourdon have all become household names. From England’s Red Roses to New Zealand’s Black Ferns, women’s rugby union teams from all over the world provide heroes for women and girls alike to look up to.
One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see how the game develops in the coming years. Read below to discover the latest news and developments in the world of women’s rugby union.
WHAT PROGRESS LOOKS LIKE FOR THE BLACK FERNS | HEALTHSPAN ELITE
Just how much has changed for Women's Rugby? In the fourth of four features brought to you by Healthspan Elite, Black Ferns Kendra Cocksedge, Eloise Blackwell and Ruahei Demant detail how they've seen the game change over their careers, and what they would like to see in the future.
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While men’s rugby first went professional in New Zealand in 1996, when Super 12 and the Tri-Nations first launched, the women’s game has remained largely amateur.
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Rugby boots are mainly made and marketed for men by men, something which columnist Stella Mills believes must change in women's rugby.
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