The Girls That Step Strong in The Field
Phrases like “female rugby is neither rugby nor female” are slowly but surely being left in the past, female rugby is stronger than ever. So much so that the World Rugby and the Rugby Europe organizations are arranging forums about the role of female rugby, and the leadership of women in the sport.
These first reunions were celebrated in Spain and members from 23 rugby federations and institutions such as the Six Nations have participated, and they are now working on drafting the blueprints of change for European female rugby to follow in the near future.
Katie Sadlier, who is the general manager of women’s rugby at World Rugby, Lyndsey Douglas, director of women’s sport leadership at Nielsen Sports, and Alhambra Nievas, responsible for the development of World Rugby, have been the outstanding female speakers who have moderated these forums, and lead workshops and presentations in these important events.
On the Countdown for The World Cup
As so, back in November, it was announced that New Zealand is hosting the next Female Rugby World Cup in 2021. Needless to say, the great favs to win the title are the ‘Black Ferns’, the record of the selection doesn’t have any comparison, since they have been victors in five of the eight contested championships til the date. As a matter of fact, they only failed in the first two editions, which were for the United States and England.
Australia and New Zealand disputed the honor of being the host of this coming tournament and in the end, the kiwi candidacy prevailed over the Aussies. And as a curious fact, this will be the first time that this tournament is played in southern latitudes, since the previous editions were disputed north of the equator line. The previous editions were celebrated on Wales (1991), Scotland (1994), The Netherlands (1998), Spain (2002), Canada (2006), England (2010), France (2014) and Wales again (2017).
The Next Steps
Maybe the positive exposure of the sport, through local and international tournaments and events like the first Women’s International Leadership Forum; will open the doors to more fans and also, sponsors. This could be the little push that the World Rugby needs to nail down new cross-border tournaments for women, taking out the small local clubs and university leagues out of anonymity for good.
Having a European club championship for female rugby, like in any other women’s sport will make the difference since it’s a widely-played discipline, it’s included on the Olympic Games and there’s a sizable amount of athletes that are leaving blood and sweat to gain some acknowledgment from the international eye.
For sure, celebrating the Female Rugby World Cup 2021, the country where this sport is an authentic religion is a very smart move by the World Rugby council. This is a magnificent opportunity to give more visibility to a very popular sport whose practice in women is little known outside from those who play it. Remember that by changing paradigms, we change the world and women’s rugby is surely moving towards change.