How are girls supposed to believe in rugby, when it doesn’t believe in women?


Helen Worsley, Reporter

I’m pretty sure I can name nearly all the players on the England men’s rugby team. Sadly, I cannot say the same for the women’s team. 

Embarrassingly this is coming from me, a woman who plays rugby every week. The names in my head should be Emily Scarratt or Sarah Hunter however I’m ashamed to admit they’re just names from a Google search I made a few seconds ago! If my knowledge isn’t bad enough, on the fateful Saturday 12th November I watched the Red Roses get defeated in a nail-biting World Cup Final. The match was exhilarating (which is a lot more than I can say for the England men. So why don’t any England women’s players spring to mind.  

I can’t help but question could it be me and my bad memory or lack of time watching the Red Roses. Maybe it’s the fact that men are paid 40times more than women per match at women’s rate of £400.0. or maybe that 72% of girls felt they were pushed into typical female sports during PE class. This could have further rooted such a male dominated sport and caused women to be even less spoken about. Eva my team mate a Broughton Park Rugby Club said “it’s the small things like never playing on the first pitch or having a league” 

When looking into more of a systemic reason I was reminded of my 6-year-old self. As a child I sampled nearly every sport swimming, athletics, netball, basketball, football and gymnastics. But as a young girl it never crossed my mind to try rugby, I thought too aggressive with zero skill. The feel of the oldy shaped ball in my small hands and thrill of plummeting it up the pitch is unfortunately just a memory from me at 14. I wish I had started rugby so much earlier. 

In 2021 Rachael Burfood ex England player wrote an open letter addressed to the Sectary of State in education to call on schools to have rugby in the girls PE curriculum. This should encourage rugby for girls at a grass roots level however pursuing rugby further as a woman is still a real challenge. Women’s pay per season is an average of £29,000, men’s pay per season for first contract is £40,000 with a senior player getting £120,000. The Black Ferns (New Zealand women) are paid 60-130k per season and have won the Rugby World Cup 6 out of the 9 times it has been on. Unfortunately, as you see there are some extreme differences in other high level rugby teams. But I hope New Zealand gives the Red Roses hope for a fairer game in the Uk.  

In my opinion rugby is a brilliant sport it can make you feel part of a family on and off the pitch. You know that there is always someone beside you to hold the line in a defense and beside you after a hard game on the bus ride home. So, I decided to ask my teammates questions about rugby as a woman. 

So how can I persuade all you girls and young women out there to take up rugby Kitty from my rugby club said “it’s an opportunity for girls to play sport they can all be included in with a position for every person and girls don’t feel judged on there body type. Everyone adds something completely different thar builds the team.” 

“it’s a great time to prove that women’s rugby is just as good if not even more exciting than the men’s as shown by the lionesses.” So, contact your local rugby club. You too can feel the thrill of plummeting up the pitch like me.  

 To find your local club