International Women’s Day allows us to celebrate women and through the success of sport, we can celebrate how it has opened up to allow both sexes the same opportunity to perform at elite levels.
Women’s Rugby has become increasingly popular over the years, especially after the England Women’s team success in the Rugby World Cup in 2014. One of rugby’s attractions is that it enables women to break a traditionally patriarchal stereotype. Believe it or not, women play to the same rules as men. The video below, documented by BBC Sport with England players Natasha Hunt and Emily Scarrett, addresses all the cliches associated with women’s rugby and ‘the things not to say to women rugby players’.
Posted by BBC Sport on Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Statistically, the England Women’s team have been one of the most successful teams since they won the Rugby World Cup in 2014, after beating Canada 21-9 in Paris. They are also the only country with a fully professional squad, while France and New Zealand operate on a Semi-Pro basis, all of their other competitors are amateur.
‘The victory followed a record-breaking seventh consecutive 6 Nations crown in 2012 as well as the Grand Slam. England also became the first team ever in 6 Nations history not to concede a try.‘ – RFU.
England Women’s team, Red Roses, are currently competing in the 6 Nations 2018-19. From the table above, the table stands with England firmly placed at the top. The Red Roses will take on Italy in their next fixture this Saturday 9 March, kick off 12.05pm at Sandy Park, home to the Exeter Cheifs.
“With over 8,700 tickets currently sold, the upcoming game will be a record breaker in terms of number of tickets sold to a Red Roses’ home fixture outside of a Women’s Rugby World Cup.” – RFU. This is not only incredible for women’s rugby, as they are playing at a high profile staidum, but ticket sales are soaring proving the popularity of the women’s competition. To be apart of the action at Sandy Park this weekend, follow the link to purchase a ticket, with starting prices of £10 per person.
However, it’s not all about being the best and playing for England. Rugby is a sociable game with more women playing as rugby clubs have a welcoming atmospheres and the sport is a great way to get fit.
Rugby is positively trending in the right direction and for this sport to progress and integrate women of all ages, there is still much more to do. Governing bodies need to boost media coverage by allowing matches to be televised such as the ‘Red Roses’ in the 6 Nations, drive more sponsorship, encourage the sport and target more people to support and engage with rugby.
How to get involved: Rugby Union at the University of Liverpool
Being a student at the Universtity of Liverpool, there are two opportunities to join a university team.
“We are very fortunate to have dedicated coaches who have proved it is only those who are committed to the team who will represent us on the pitch. We also get huge support from the RFU as our numbers continue to grow every season.” – University of Liverpool, Rugby Union.
The team compete in the BUCS 2A League where they travel and play university teams in the North West. As well as the league, they compete in the BUCS Conference Cup, sevens tournaments, local festivals and Varsity.
“Due to the huge number of women wanting to play, we entered a 2nd team into BUCS for the 17/18 season for the first time ever and this was a huge success, giving plenty of opportunities for women to get involved in University rugby!” – University of Liverpool, Rugby Union.
Rugby has shown its popularity within our University and just how supported the sport is in Liverpool.
Speaking to the President of the Women’s Rugby Union team at the University of Liverpool, Amy Ollerenshaw, rugby has proven its development over the years in terms of recruitnment of a team as well as the opportunities to play outside of the University.
“Even in my small time playing rugby (3 years), there has been a huge growth in the number of girls we recruit each year. There is also an increase in girls coming to us with prior experience, or leaving us with the intention to continue to playing rugby at a higher level. One local club, Waterloo, are in the women’s premier league and we have a number of girls who play for them regularly.” – Amy Ollerenshaw, President of Women’s Rugby Union at the University of Liverpool.
For more information on how to get involved in the rugby union women’s team at the University of Liverpool, follow the link.
How to get involved: Rugby League at the University of Liverpool
Univeristy of Liverpool also has a rugby leauge team. Both the union and league obviously play the same game with similar motives, yet the rules and team arrangements are slightly different. For example, in rugby league there are less active players on the pitch (13 compared to 15), once a player is tackled they must roll the ball behind them rather than their team forming a ruck to protect the ball like in union, there is a finite tackle limit and once that is reached there is a turnover ball, whereas rugby union has an ‘infinate’ amount of tackles.
For more information on how to get involved in the rugby league women’s team at the University of Liverpool, follow the link.
If you are wanting to join a non-university team or interested to see if there is a local team in your home town, follow the link for information about where to find your nearest club by entering your postcode in the Club Finder.