Rugby is not as popular as baseball, soccer, or football, but it certainly is rising in popularity as it combines the tackling of American football with the pace of soccer. And while some don’t consider rugby to be a woman’s sport due to the physical harshness of the game, many women from across many countries are competing in a rugby league of their own.
In the 19th Century, Women playing contact sports was considered to be disrespectful, and hence when women tried to organize a set of matches in 1881, it led to riots. Women still played a little during WWI and other occasions, and a women’s rugby league was even formed in Australia in 1930. While women were making progress, many countries still saw women in contact sports as a taboo. That would all change in the 1960s, as the first women’s club match took place in France in 1968. And from that, the first national association was formed in the 1970s. In the 1970s women’s rugby even spread into the US as 4 universities were playing it by 1972. Rugby leagues began popping up in countries across the world and the game was even introduced in Japan in 1981. In 1990, the first worldwide tournament, RugbyFest, was held in New Zealand where 4 national teams, the USA, New Zealand, USSR, and Netherland’s along with other club teams battled for the first even women’s trophy. New Zealand won. And in the following year, the first women’s rugby world cup took place where the US won. Another world cup followed up in 1994 where England won. And the World Cup has been held around every 4 years since, with the 2021 World Cup set to be held in New Zealand for the first time.
Top 10 Women’s Rugby Teams
- New Zealand