What has been going on in Women’s rugby since the World Cup? Let’s take a look:
Tyrrells Premier 15s
The Tyrrells Premier 15s is the new top level domestic competition in England with Harlequins and Saracens battling it out at the top of the table. In a statement of intent, Richmond signed French captain and 69-cap hooker Gaëlle Mignot, while many of England’s World Cup stars, such as Marlie Packer, changed clubs.
The RFU have decided to focus on this league rather than maintain full-time professional contracts for 15s. They see it as a way of developing depth and boosting the profile of Women’s rugby. There was some controversy over the choice of teams to make up the inaugural competition, with Women’s rugby powerhouse Lichfield particularly upset at missing out.
Old Mutual Wealth England v Canada Series
Canada, and to a lesser extent England, were missing some World Cup squad members. New faces, like 11-try Jess Breach, came to the fore for England. Despite the expiry of their XVs professional contracts, English players are being paid training and match fees for the first time.
Recognition for Phaidra Knight
Phaidra Knight, the USA flanker, was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame recently. Here she gives an interview to World Rugby back in 2010.
Munster v Barbarians
The Barbarians finally created a Women’s team this year. Their story is shown in a World Rugby video found here. They played Munster, recording a 0-19 win.
World Rugby Women’s 7s Series
The World Rugby 7s series is about to kick off in Dubai. New Zealand look to defend the series and Dubai titles they won last year.
— ISN (@islandsports1) November 30, 2017
Possible Women’s European Cup?
A potential tournament involving the top sides in England and France is in the early stages of discussions. A Women’s European Cup would involve up to 18 teams from the two countries.
World Rugby Board Shake-up
The World Rugby Council will add 17 new members next year. The current 32 members are all male. In a bid to ensure women have a strong voice in the game at the highest level, all 17 new board members will be female.
There have been some interesting and welcome refereeing appointments since the Women’s World Cup. Joy Neville, who refereed the final, is set to become the first woman to referee a professional European club match. Spanish referee Alhambra Nievas took charge of the Finland v Norway game on 14th October. She is the first female to take charge of a full Men’s international.
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) December 7, 2016
Aimee Barrett-Theron has been promoted by SARFU to the elite match official panel in South Africa. Congratulations to these trail blazers.
And Finally, The Farah Palmer Cup
5-time losing finalists Canterbury finally won the New Zealand Women’s domestic competition, beating Counties Manukau 13-7. Auckland Storm failed to reach the final for the first time since the playoffs were introduced in 2006.
Author: Daniel Pugsley
I am a 31 year old from Yorkshire, England. I have played social rugby for 25 years in England, Japan, Italy, Poland and the UAE. I teach English as a foreign language, which explains why I’ve lived in so many places. I recently moved back to England and have had to take a break from playing, but I hope to pull on the boots again soon.