With the women’s Rugby World Cup set to take place in Ireland in August, excitement in the women’s game is certainly reaching new heights.
Attendances, media coverage and overall interest have grown in recent years and it’s about time too. Competitiveness in the northern hemisphere has also helped increase interest. Over the last number of years, the Red Roses have been dominant, securing the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2017 but Ireland and France have also been impressive in recent season, too.
The game in France is also well supported, and lessons could be learned from other unions in terms of how the game is promoted there. For example, there was an attendance of 11,700 when France hosted Ireland in Perpignan in 2016, breaking the Six Nations record for attendance in a women’s rugby game.
The awarding of professional contracts to some of the English players is also a sign that the game is moving in the right direction. Further news to support this has come from the British and Irish Lions’ Chief Operating Office, Charlie McEwen.
“A Lions women’s team is an important step forward,” McEwen told BBC Sport.
It is hoped that this will be set in stone after 2019, when the men’s side schedule for the future will be confirmed. McEwen believes that there is a place for women’s Lions team and that it could potentially happen within 2-3 years time.
“There is a place for a women’s Lions team, lots of people have been talking about it.
“Whether that’s in the next two or three years, whether that’s in five, 10 years, who knows?”
Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see this happen but it can only help grow the women’s game further.